Coping Strategies Adopted by Public Universities in Kenya in Response to Environmental Changes

Francis M. Mathooko, Martin Ogutu


This study was undertaken to establish strategies adopted by public universities in Kenya in response to changes in the environment. The study design was descriptive and utilized a cross-sectional survey of all the public universities in Kenya through administration of a structured questionnaire to the top management team. Additional primary data were collected through observations and interviews. Secondary data were collected from published works and, universities and government documents in public domain in order to corroborate the data collected from the primary sources. Positive responses were received from 63 respondents out of 91, yielding a 69.4% response rate. The universities adopted Porter’s generic competitive strategy model, of cost leadership, differentiation and focus to counter the challenges experienced, and in particular cost leadership and differentiation. The extent of adoption of differentiation strategy was significantly different (p<0.05) between the old and new universities and not among the three categories of public universities, that is, old, new and university colleges. Grand strategies adopted were diversification in related business, expansion and strategic alliances. The major operational strategies adopted included, management leadership in the formulation of response strategies, distributed leadership, benchmarking, and mounting of evening and weekend programmes. Some operational strategies adopted by some universities were, however, unethical and may compromise quality. The results indicate that the coping strategies adopted by public universities in Kenya in response to changes in the environment are more or less similar to those applied by corporate organizations among them, grand strategies and Porter’s generic competitive strategy.

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Journal of Management and Strategy
ISSN 1923-3965 (Print)   ISSN 1923-3973 (Online)


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