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CHALLENGES OF STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION: A SURVEY OF MULTINATIONAL MANUFACTURING COMPANIES IN KENYA

Strategy implementation is the action aspect of the strategic management process through which strategy is a translated into action and involves change. Strategy implementation boils down to managing change and the resistance thereof, and is where the really test to the success of a strategy lies. While strategy formulation is entrepreneurial and involves visionary as well as theoretical perspective, implementation is basically, administrative and involves bringing change by working through other people, organizing, motivating, culture change building and finding the optimal fit between strategy and the organisation structure. This study sought to find out the challenges of strategy implementation by multinational manufacturing companies in Kenya.

The objectives of the study were to determine the key challenges MNCs in the manufacturing sector encounter in Kenya in implementing their organisational strategies and to establish how MNCs have gone about overcoming the challenges in strategy implementation. A census study was used in the study. Data was collected using questionnaire method that had structured and unstructured questions. A total number of 21 respondents were involved in the study each representing the 21 companies out of the 32 firms identified as MNCs operating in Kenya.

The findings of the study show that there are various challenges in the implementation of strategy by MNCs and the most significant ones were; high staff turnover at 14.3% to very great extent, fear of change and cultural restraint, inadequate staffing at 33.3% to a great extent (competition, political influence, unsupportive Government policy and poor infrastructure) external factors 28.6% to a moderate extent and inadequate funds to support strategy implementation at 42.9% to a less extent.

The findings indicate that MNCs operating in Kenya are part of the global organisations that embrace the key elements necessary for effective strategy implementation. On structure 95.2% reported a change in organizational structure to fit the new strategy. The findings show that 33.3% of the MNCss organizational structure influence strategy implementation to a very large extent while 57.1% considered it to influence strategy implementation to a great extent. The findings show that 47.6% and 61.9% of the MNCs reported that senior management leadership style and their assessment of competence among new employees respectively affect strategy implementation to a very great extent.

The findings indicate that 47.6% of the MNCs agreed that staff management and firms recruitment policy affected strategy implementation to very great, while on the other hand 66.7% said that maintenance of finance management systems influenced implementation of strategy to a very great extent On the other hand all the respondents agreed that these challenges were also widespread among other firms in the industry. It can be seen that majority of the respondents comprising of 47.6% reported that organizations culture affected the implementation of strategy to a great extent. It can be seen that majority of the respondents comprising of 85.7% confirmed that the challenges faced by the organization applied to all the departments while only 14.3% said that they were unique to their departments.

Suggested solutions to the challenges to strategy implementation had 19.0% of the respondents expressing an overwhelming desire for Government intervention in policy that would facilitate opportunities for MNCs in order to encourage additional investment in the country as many are currently downsizing their operations and moving to other more attractive locations. 4.8% by of the surveyed MNCs, indicated that parent company policies incorporate locals to the ownership of the company, encouraging people to learn and understand new ways of working, as well as attractive incentives to employees and 14.3%.indicated the need to have work contracts for the locals.