Role of Senior Management Support and Leadership in the Strategic Positioning of Newly Chartered Public Universities in Kenya: The Case of Laikipia University

Isaac S. Kosgey, Abel G. Anyieni, Asaneth C. Lagat, Thomas W. Gakobo


Generally, University education is recognized as neccesary for socio-economic and political development of society. With this appreciation, Kenya has invested heavily in expansion of University education in the recent past. However, a major pre-occupation of universities in the country today is how to achieve sustainable competitive advantage in a complex and challenging context of the higher education sector. Universities need to strategically re-position themselves to attract and retain students, win research grants and make optimal use of their resources by striving to be efficient and effective, and engaging in continuous improvement to ensure their survival and sustainability. The role of senior management support and leadership in this is core. However, the support and leadership of senior management in strategic positioning of newly chartered public universities in Kenya has not been documented. Through a cross-sectional survey, this study determined the role of senior management support and leadership in strategic positioning of newly chartered public universities. Results indicate that the University’s senior management support was crucial for the execution of strategic objectives of the University. The University’s senior management was at the conceptual and strategic levels that guided policy decisions and controlled requisite resources of the University. If the University’s senior management leadership skills are good, it can provide competitive advantage but loss if inadequate. Human resource management was one of the most critical elements for the University to respond to environmental factors of competition from other institutions of higher learning. Generally, it was apparent that support and leadership of the University’s senior management in the strategic positioning of the University was fairly strong. However, the University’s senior management would benefit more from training on soft skills as well as benchmarking with other universities in the country and the region to improve on the quality of their leadership. The findings of this study provide information that managers of newly chartered public universities and policy makers would need in terms of senior management support and leadership to achieve sustainable competitive advantage.

Keywords: Senior management, Strategic positioning, Newly chartered public universities, Kenya

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