Quality Management Strategies and Customer Satisfaction among Public Hospitals in Embu County, Kenya
Kamani, Mercy Mukami
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Product or service quality has become the driving force of global firms. Customers have becoming more enlightened with products and services that they consume due to access of information. However, it is observed from literature that the concept of quality has continued to evolve due to different attitudinal and perceptional nature of customers. Issues of quality among public organizations and more especially public hospitals in Kenya have continued to raise mixed reactions from different stakeholders such as the members of the public, public benefit organizations and management of County Governments in general. For public hospitals in Kenya to meet the changing needs and wants of their customers, they need to adopt effective quality management strategies in order to surpass customer expectations. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of quality management strategies on customer satisfaction among public hospitals in Embu County, Kenya. The specific objectives of the study were; to establish the influence of employee training, research and development and employee motivation on customer satisfaction in public hospitals in Embu County, Kenya. The study was informed by the Total Quality Management Theory and supported by the SERVQUAL model and the Open System Theory. The study employed the descriptive research design to investigate the problem that was under study. Target population comprised of 239 respondents. The respondents of the study constituted employees of the six level four public hospitals in Embu County which included Siakago, Runyenjes, Kiritiri, Kianjokoma, Ishiara and Kairuri. Respondents were stratified into four strata and simple random sampling technique was used to select respondents from each strata. The units of analysis were level four public hospitals and unit of observation were employees of public hospitals in Embu County. Primary data was collected using structured questionnaires. Secondary data was obtained from internal management health reports, related articles and minutes of the organization. Validity of the instrument was tested using lecturers and quality management experts working in public hospitals in Kenya and reliability of the instrument was tested using Cronbach Alpha formula. Data was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics such as regression analysis. Regression analysis was carried out at 95% confidence level and 5% significance level to establish the statistical relationship between variables of the study. The analyzed data was tabulated and presented in the form of means, standard deviation and percentages. The study established that there was a positive statistical relationship between independent variables and the dependent variable because all the independent variables significance values were less than the critical value 0.05. The study concludes that employee training, research and development and employee motivation are key determinants of customer satisfaction in public hospitals in Kenya. The study recommends that unless public hospitals in Kenya recognize the aspect of employee motivation, research and development and employee training, achieving organizational goals will be a difficult task to achieve in the dynamic business environment.