Effective Strategic Planning Implementation In Nigerian Business Essay

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The existence of both organisations and individuals is dependent on their ability to adapt and keep up with the rapid rhythm of change Tsiakkiros and Petros, 2002. The environment is much more complicated than it once was, public organisations do not enjoy the same level of stability as they used to (Kemp, 1990). Strategic planning is becoming more and more important to the effectiveness of various non-profit organisations and addressing the challenges these organisations are faced with will be almost impossible without the help of strategic planning. Long range strategic planning has become common practice over the past couple of decades in the private sector, hence, strategic planning must be applied to the public and non-profit sector to enable officials successfully adapt to the future (Kemp, 1990).

Strategic planning has been going on in the business world for decades before the idea was adopted in education. Its extended use started after the Second World War, although this can be traced back much earlier. It was however during the 1960's that it became a standard management tool (IIEP, 2010). During this period, people believed it would solve all the problems and were obsessed with it (Lerner, 1999). From there on, it has gone on to see various theories and modification. Strategic planning has moved on from the ancient strategy used in the military background and some of the evolution according to (IIEP, 2010) is that it has been observed that it needs to take place at different levels and not just at the executive level as every manager is a maker and implementer of strategy in the area he oversees. Also, a good plan should be all inclusive and take everyone along in order to enhance the chances of a successful implementation. Its preparation should not just be left with a particular group.

Strategic planning started in the public sectors during the 1980's when the trend of public management was popular and cost effectiveness in public administration was advised. There are quite a number of differences between private and public organizations and this was considered. The believe is that all organizations, be it private or public have specific long-term goals to attain and are all faced with limited resources thereby making it necessary to find the most efficient way of attaining these (IIEP, 2010).

Strategic planning in the education sector emerged in the United States quite early, this was in the late 1970's. Over the past couple of decades, higher institutions of learning had to face several changes in the environment and respond to such changes (Lerner, 1999). This prompted universities to engage in strategic planning so as to adapt to the ever changing environment (Rowley et al., 1997).


The Nigerian education sector just like other public sector organisations have already begun to realize the importance and necessity of strategic planning in maintaining their responsiveness to the swiftly changing environment (Streib and Poister, 1990; Bryson, 2004; Rahimnia et al., 2009). After the conduct of a study by the Association of African Universities (AAU) in the early 1990's, the Nigeria Universities Commission (NUC) adopted the findings and instructed all Nigerian Universities to embark on strategic planning (Abdulkareem et al., 2010). Some Institutions of learning in Nigeria have adopted strategic planning, among them is Bayero University Kano. University of Jos was the first University in the country create an institutional strategic plan. And since then, Universities such as Bayero University Kano, University of Lagos, Ibadan and others have followed in making their own plans. The trend in the use of strategic planning In Nigerian universities have become popular due to the fact that many institutions now find themselves in situation where old methods of planning and management are no longer effective in guaranteeing a steady future (Abdulkareem et al., 2010). Higher education institutions have witnessed significant changes with regards changing demographics, technology, increase in cost and fall in funding and aging facilities (Ostar, 1989).


Although strategy implementation is been considered to be a very important aspect of the process of strategic management, articles written deal with various aspects of strategic planning ranging from its definition, its process and application (Yvonne, 1989). He said, the literature on strategic planning and management is prolific, however, most of the work in the area focused on the theory and models of strategic planning instead of addressing problems faced during the implementation of such plans. The same view has been shared by (Siciliano, 2002; Rahimnia et al., 2009) where they stipulated that despite its importance to the strategic management process, most of the research concentrated on formulation of strategy rather than its implementation. According to Li et.al (2008), despite the difficulty in formulation of a consistent strategy for any management, implementing the formulated strategy across the entire organisation is much more difficult and as such it is seen as a craft rather than a science making it a key challenge for organizations today.

The current position of higher education institutions of learning in Nigeria is in a state where the quality of education is at its lowest standard and this has been partly blamed on neglect by successive governments who are the owners and major financiers of these institutions and also the lack of proper planning and its implementation. Fehnel (2000) said that it is essential for institutions to systematically engage users of its products and services in the strategic planning process as it appears that very few Nigerian public institutions realize the fact that employers are becoming more concerned with the output of undergraduate education they provide

So unless something is done to address the issues faced, the trend will continue and the building of a solid educational system which is the bedrock of a strong economic and democratic system which creates advantages for a nation in the global economy will not materialize. A step to ensuring a stable present and sustainable future will start with the effective implementation of strategies adopted by the higher education institutions and since not much research is done in the area of strategy implementation, as mentioned by (Yvonne, 1989, Li et.al, 2008, Rahimnia et.al, 2009), this research will attempt to look at the impeders to implementation.


The aim of this research is to identify the impeders to effective strategic implementation in Nigerian higher education sector with a view to achieving a more effective and efficient strategic planning process.


What are the factors affecting the successful implementation of strategic planning in higher education institutions?

What are the problems encountered in the implementation of strategic planning in Bayero University Kano?

How can strategic planning implementation be improved in Bayero University Kano towards achieving an efficient and effective planning process?


To identify the factors influencing strategy implementation higher education.

To identify the issues facing strategic planning in Nigerian higher education.

To suggest suitable measures towards achieving improved performance of strategy implementation in Nigerian higher education.


The findings of this research is expected to add to the existing literature on implementation of strategic planning in the education sector especially with regards to the factors that hinder the effective implementation of strategic planning in Nigerian Higher education. It can be adopted by administrators and key staffs in the Nigerian higher education sector in improving their strategic planning process.


A qualitative methodology was adopted for the purpose of this research with semi-structured open ended interview questions as the method of data collection. Case study approach was decided upon and the analysis of data gathered was using NVivo.


This dissertation is been structured to include five chapters, these are;

Chapter one includes the introduction to the study, the background of the industry, research focus, the objectives of the research, the questions and the aim of conducting the research. It then goes on to describe the significance of the study, methodology and structure of the dissertation.

Chapter two contains the literature review and this chapter talks about strategy in a broad view, strategic planning in higher education and its difference with business, the strategic management process and the factors influencing strategic planning. Also, the impeders to strategic planning were looked at. As the basis of the framework of the research, a review of the theories of strategic planning implementation and models are reviewed as well.

Chapter three explains the research methodology, the methods used for the research and the rationale behind adopting it. It also looks at the way the data analysis was done.

Chapter four contains raw data that has been gathered from and field, this is where it is presented.

Chapter five is about the analysis of the data and comparisons between the findings of the research and past researches.

Chapter Six which is the last chapter will include the summary, recommendations and conclusion.




This chapter contains the literature review and starts with the broad view of strategy and nature of strategic management and strategic planning. It considers the strategic management process as found in education sector and then considers the factors that influence strategic planning and its impeders. An attempt was made to try and differentiate between strategic planning as found in businesses and in education. And finally some important tools that can be used in strategic planning were looked into.


There is no specific definition of the term strategy. This is a broad area with different views being highlighted by various authors. Porter (1996:36) as cited in (Leslie, 2008) highlighted that strategy has been around for a very long time and used in politics and war as a means survival. However, he mentioned that no particular decision has been reached as to what strategy or strategic thinking entails.

Nevertheless, attempts have been made by these same writers to define the term. Pugh and Bourgeois III (2011: 172) opined that "strategy is not a thing- it is not a person, a meeting, a bound document, PowerPoint presentation, a letter from the CEO in an annual report". They described strategy as a continuous process. "It is a way of thinking about a business, of assessing its strengths, of diagnosing its weaknesses, of envisioning its possibilities" (ibid)

According to Johnson et al., (2008: 3) the most basic definition of strategy today might be "the long term direction of an organization". They were of the view that a more comprehensive definition can be made of the term strategy and that it is "the direction and scope of an organization over the long term, which achieves advantage in a changing environment through its configuration of resources and competences with the aim of fulfilling stakeholder expectations".

The above definition by Johnson et al., (2008) can be seen to be a quite comprehensive definition of the term strategy. The definition includes certain key words and phrases like direction and scope over long-term, resources and competencies and also stakeholders. Direction in this case can be used to describe where the organisation is heading and what exactly the organisation is seeking to achieve. Scope on the other hand is how much the organization intends to cover, should it concentrate its resources on one front or a wide variety of areas? Resources and competencies or capabilities as they are called highlights the need for the organisation to make the most of what makes it strong to create competitive advantage or new opportunities for itself. And as for stakeholders, consideration should be given to various interested parties such as employees, suppliers, customers, groups etc as they all have a stake in how the organization is impacted either positively or negatively.

So strategy is all about making decisions on how to be successful by competing and staying ahead. This view has been supported by (Hough et al., 2008), they consider strategy as a way in which management go about achieving growth by seeing off the competition and bringing together the various parts of the organisation to contribute in this growth towards attaining sustainable performance.

Hill and Jones (2001) described strategy as an action that a company takes to attain one or more of its goals with the overriding goal being the achievement of superior performance. Here also, the talk is about achieving the ultimate goal that has been set which in almost all cases is performance. Organisations have to grow, to be better at what they do, and to do this, a step by step approach is needed in order to attain that feat with input needed from everyone in that organisation under the stewardship of the management.

Another who also shares the same view as (Hill and Jones, 2001) is (Warnock, 2000) where he also said that "the practical purpose of strategy is to provide a plan that employs multiple inputs, options and outputs to achieve a company's policy goals and objectives".


At the heart of strategic management is the ascertainment of long-term goals and objectives of an organisation which acts as a framework within which decisions are made concerning the nature and direction of the organisation (Stoney, 2001; David, 2009) as cited in (Ofori and Atiogbe, 2012). Additionally, to aid with the adoption of changes to the environment and control, techniques such as strategic management process should be applied (O'Regan and Ghobadian, 2002).

Tsiakkiros and Petros (2002) pointed out that organisations existence will very much be dependent on their ability adapt to a fast changing environment as the environment is more complicated than it was some decades ago (Kemp, 1990). Kay (1995:4) as cited in (Leslie, 2008) said that to meet the challenges of changing demands and be sustainable, internal capabilities of the organisation and its external relationships needs to be matched and this becomes the strategy of the firm. In this case then, strategic management does the job of moving from strategic planning to strategic implementation.

The term strategic management has been defined by (Ehlers and Lazenby, 2004) as a process whereby the functions and resources of an organisation are integrated and harmonized to implement strategies that have been formulated.

David (2009) as cited in (Ofori and Atiogbe, 2012) opines that the term strategic management is used synonymously with strategic planning. David (2009) defined strategic management as the art and science of formulating, implementing and evaluating cross-functional decisions that enable an organisation achieve its objectives. Pearce and Robinson (2007) describes it as a set of decisions and activities that add to the strategic management process so as to enable the attainment of objectives set.


Alashloo et al. (2005) came up with a framework of strategic management process for higher education based on the work of (Kriemadis, 1997; David, 2003; Salhieh and Singh, 2003). The framework is made up of three major stages with each having an impact on the other. They include strategy formulation, strategy implementation and strategy evaluation.


Alashloo et al. (2005) mentioned that for a strategy to be formulated and suitable strategic decision achieved, certain factors like culture, values, vision and mission, attitudes and long-term objectives should be established as they are crucial and important in every organisation and society in general. The opportunities in the industry and the threats should be assessed with decision makers seeking ways to adapt and exploit these changes. The management should also look inward at elements like the financial and human resources, academic validity and social reputation of the organisation and asses its strength and weaknesses as they will have a significant impact on survival and growth.


Once the means and methods for achieving objectives have been identified, the next step is to start acting (Alashloo, Castka and Sharp, 2005). In the search for sources of sustainable competitive advantage by researchers and industrialist, they have realized that business performance depends not only on formulation of strategy but also on successful implementation of a given strategy and the process by which competitive positions are created or maintained (Feurer and Chaharbaghi, 1997). It involves the furtherance of some of the existing strategies and the adoption of new ones. The good intentions of a strategy can become insignificant if not implemented properly. Essentially, until a strategy is implemented, it remains a plan and not an operational reality (Leslie, 2008). Implementation of the strategy is the hardest part of the strategic planning process (Uvah, 2005). To put into effect what has been planned and at the same being alert to opportunities that may come up which are better that those intended thereby responding to the emergent strategies makes it even harder. This view was also shared by (Li et al., 2008) where they said that numerous studies acknowledge that strategies frequently fail not because of inadequate formulation, but because of insufficient implementation.

There is no universally accepted definition of strategy implementation according to (Li et al., 2008). However, they were able to identify three distinct conceptions of the term. Some of the definitions concentrated on implementation as a series of careful planned steps, process perspective they called them. Others examined implementation from a behaviour perspective where it is seen as a series of more or less concerted actions but often parallel. The third is a combination of the previous two which they called a hybrid perspective. From a combination of definitions that (Li et al., 2008) considered, they came up with their own definition. They described strategy implementation as a dynamic, iterative and complex process which comprises of a series of decisions and activities by managers and employees, affected by a number of interrelated internal and external factors to turn strategic plans into reality in order to achieve strategic objectives.

In public research organisations, new strategies should be added in bits that utilize and build on existing skills of staff (Galloway, 1990). He said the purpose of the implementation stage is to translate strategy into action and that it should be in a formal setting so as to avoid the danger of missing some information during communication. It can be in form of programme, budget and procedures.

Managers in higher education institutions should thus have a vivid picture of the situation as strategy implementation in this industry involves continuing with existing strategies and adoption of new ones. Certain tools like the balance scorecard by Kaplan and Norton and strategy map can help in translating and measuring the achievements of the strategic plans and objectives (Sutic et al., 2010).


This stage is about the review of the strategy. After strategy has been formulated with objectives set, it is necessary to ensure that the implemented strategy is being achieved. Measuring the performance and taking corrective actions are all peculiar to this stage of the strategic management process. Brache and Freedman (1999) pointed out that the absence of effective control systems during the implementation can bring about the failure of the whole process. Management should then ensure that appropriate control procedures are in place to counter the derailment of plans that are being implemented. Inflexible and autocratic procedures for monitoring are not appropriate for higher education (Galloway, 1990).

One of the most important models that can be used by management to measure if their strategy is on track is by the use of balance score card (Kaplan and Norton, 2004). This model was developed by Kaplan and Norton. One of the most important characteristic of the balance scorecard is that it makes use of both financial and non financial measures. The model describes four perspectives that can be used to align the operations of the business and the strategy. These are the financial perspectives, customer perspective, the internal business perspective and the learning perspective.

Higher education institutions should have control procedures that are in line with leadership styles that encourages learning and the freedom to be creative with excellence being rewarded. Brewer et al., (2000) as stated in (Alashloo et al., 2005) stated that in the case of colleges and universities, the prime tools for measuring success are assessing the areas of teaching, research and general service towards achieving the institutions goals.

Figure 2.1: Strategic Management Process in Higher Education (Alashloo, Castka and Sharp, 2005).

Other researchers like (Andrews, 1960; Feurer and Chaharbaghi 1995; Hunger and Wheelan, 1996, Lewis, 1996) have all tried to come up with models for strategic management. However, most of them tend to dwell more on the formulation of strategy, giving less attention to implementation of which we are concerned with.

Hunger and Wheelan (1996) came up with four parts, they are environmental scanning which include both external (societal and task environment) and internal (structure, culture and resources). The environmental scan acts as a prelude and feedback to the other three parts namely strategic formulation, implementation and evaluation and control. All four parts proposed are linked in some way with one another.

Lewis (1996) though quite similar, considered it from a more generic angle. As (Leslie, 2008:18) pointed out that the approach "takes a holistic view of the environment, analysing the past, identifying trends, core-driving forces, strategic issues and key uncertainties".

The above approaches by (Hunger and Wheelan, 1996, Lewis, 1996) are considered to be unidirectional approach which started in the 1960's by Kenneth Richmond Andrews. However, the unidirectional approach has recently been on the side of negative criticism. This is due to the nature of the general and competitive environment which is full of uncertainties. This has been supported by (Feurer et al., 1995) where they argue that the step by step approach is no longer a feasible option towards the development of strategy and preached the need for a rather dynamic approach that will allow organisations to about the formulation and implementation of strategy at the same time. However, to achieve this, certain factors like communication, coordination, structure and culture all have to be strong in the organisation.


Strategic planning has been described as a managerial process as well. Drago (1996) viewed strategic plans as a means or tool for communicating and implementing strategy. They act as a vehicle for the organisation to use towards implementation of strategy while taking advantage of contributions to the organisation such as directing the resources of the organisation towards certain segments of the organisation and imbibing a certain culture (efficiency, quality and customer service) in the organisation leading to control and coordination in its activities.

According to Bryson (1988: 74)"it is a disciplined effort to produce fundamental decisions and actions shaping the nature and direction of an organization's activities within legal bounds". He says it is designed to aid public and non-profit organizations respond effectively to changing environment. The decisions in the above definition is a series of discussion among key members i.e. decision makers and managers about the truly important matters to the organization

In another effort to define strategic planning, (Fidler, 1996) looked at it from the view of different terms used to describe strategic planning, some of which include strategic management, business strategy process and corporate strategy. He opined that they all mean the same thing, and that it is the same process that is being looked at from different angles highlighting different aspects. In an earlier work, (Fidler, 1989) he simply puts it as a process of creating and selecting a strategy to react to future events and deciding on how best to implement it. Tsiakkiros and Petros (2002) mentioned that in management literature, the concept of strategic planning may be found in terms of business strategy policy, strategic management or corporate strategy. They all mean the same thing and with the link being the word strategy.

Strategic planning for the purpose of this research is an important sub-set of strategic management that helps in bringing together the objectives, goals and actions. This was supported by (Drago, 1996) where he said strategic plans are the means or tools for communicating and implementing the strategy. Various authors have suggested the adoption of strategic planning by organisations in their quest to dealing with environmental challenges and achieving sustainable competitive advantage (Ofori and Atiogbe, 2012).

So whether strategic planning and strategic management mean the same thing as (Fidler, 1996; Tsiakkiros and Petros, 2002) or strategic planning is an aspect of strategic management, what has been established and agreed is that the three aspects of strategic planning include the formulation, implementation and evaluation of strategy (Johnson and Scholes, 1999) as cited in (Ofori and Atiogbe, 2012).


Various factors that affect strategic planning have been identified in earlier research by several authors. Lewin's force field model has been used by (Faulkner and Bowman, 1995) to describe how several forces act towards strategic planning. They said that forces exist that are pointing the strategy set by the organisation in the right direction towards making it successful (driving forces), and just as these forces are aiming for the success of the strategy, there are also other forces which are resisting these strategies out fear etc (restraining forces).

Leslie (2008) highlighted several factors that influence strategic planning, these include

The Environment - Uncertainties in the environment are a threat to the process of strategic planning as it affects the ability to come up with long-term plans since frequent changes in the environment will most definitely require a change to the plan made.

Laws - A change in the laws by the government will bring about a change in the environment and industry which in turn affects the strategic planning of the organisation.

Resources - Resources are scarce, as such strategic planning has to be aligned to make efficient use of these scarce resources.

Organisational life-cycle - companies move from one phase to the other in the life-cycle, as these changes happen, so does the competitive environment. This affects the way they plan and execute their strategy.

The size of the organisation - An increase brought about by the growth of the organisation also brings about an increase in degree of involvement and formality of their plans.


Strategic planning has been going on in the business world for decades before the idea was adopted in education. Strategic planning's extended use started after the Second World War, although this can be traced back much earlier. It was however during the 1960's that it became a standard management tool (IIEP, 2010). During this period, people believed it would solve all the problems and were obsessed with it (Lerner, 1999). From there on, it has gone on to see various theories and modification. It has moved on from the ancient strategy used in the military background and some of the evolution according to (IIEP, 2010) is that it has:

Been observed that it needs to take place at different levels and not just at the executive level as every manager is a maker and implementer of strategy in the area he oversees.

A good plan should be all inclusive and take everyone along in order to enhance the chances of a successful implementation. Its preparation should not just be left with a particular group.

It started in the public sectors during the 1980's when the trend of public management was popular and cost effectiveness in public administration was advised. There are quite a number of differences between private and public organizations and this was considered. The believe is that all organizations, be it private or public have specific long-term goals to attain and are all faced with limited resources making it necessary to find the most efficient way of attaining these (IIEP, 2010).

Strategic planning in the education sector emerged in the US quite early, this was in the late 1970's. Over the past couple of decades, higher institutions of learning had to face several changes in the environment and respond to such changes (Lerner, 1999). This prompted universities to engage in strategic planning so as to adapt to the ever changing environment (Rowley et al., 1997).


To ensure the success of strategic planning, higher education institutions need to adjust the business strategy model to suit their needs (Lerner, 1999). Some of the areas where they are different include the structure. While businesses tend to have a somewhat unstable structure due to individual differences in organisations as well as an ever changing environment, education has a rather stable structure as changes are not very frequent (Tsiakkiros and Petros, 2002). Another notable difference is with the inputs, processes and time-frame. Inputs in business can be controlled and they have a flexible process whereas inputs in education cannot be controlled and the processes are not as flexible and while businesses operate mostly a decentralized system with short and medium-time term vision, it is vice versa for education (Lerner, 1999; Tsiakkiros and Petros, 2002). Also, unlike businesses that have specific customers that the business can serve his needs, Higher education institutions in particular do not have that making the definition of goals and measuring effectiveness against the mission difficult (Lerner, 1999). Boldt (1991) said that although the basic concepts of strategic management in education and business are similar, substantial differences exist in the application and he argued with reasons why it is harder in a university than in business. He argued that certain elements like profit motive that is present in business is absent in education, restriction of freedom due to faculty tenure, universities being more political than businesses etc.


Several reasons can be attributed to the lack of success in the implementation of strategic plans. Different views are held for the cause of failure. Thompson and Strickland (1995) as cited in (Rausch et al., 2001) stated that formulating strategy is much easier than its implementation. Implementation is considered to be generally more difficult and time consuming as a lot of activities ranging from management time, man-managements skills, leaderships skills, patience and skills to bring about change are needed.

Some of the reasons or factors that bring about the problems of implementing strategic planning have been highlighted by various researchers. Al-Ghamdi (1998) identified six problems which include;

Inadequate information systems to monitor implementation.

Implementation taking longer than was anticipated.

Ineffectiveness of coordination and implementation activities.

Emergence of problems not identified during planning.

Poor definition of activities to be carried out during implementation.

Distraction from competing activities.

Similarly, Aaltonen and Ikavaiko, (2002) as cited in (Leslie, 2008) highlighted the following as problems that could go wrong during implementation. They include;

Lack of communication.

Weak management roles during implementation.

Lack of commitment to the defined strategy.

Misunderstanding or lack of awareness of the strategy.

Unaligned organisational systems and resources.

Poor coordination and sharing of responsibilities.

Inadequate Capabilities.

Competing activities.

Uncontrollable environmental factors.

In another view, (Uvah, 2005) identified certain challenges that could be faced during strategic planning, he called for attention to be paid to these in order to achieve a successful plan. These challenges include commitment to the plan by leadership of the institution, an understanding of what is required by those who are involved, expertise from within or outside the organization, scepticism and funding.

However, the one most related to this research are impeders identified by (Alashloo et al., 2005). They said that there are not too many impeders to strategy implementation in strategic management literature and if closely examined, these impeders will be closely linked to organisational structure, culture, system, power and conflict. They grouped these impeders under five headings which are planning consequences, organisational issues, managerial issues, individual issues and environmental issues.

Planning Consequences

Lack of exact strategic planning.

Insufficient linking of the strategy to goals.

Time limitation.

Lack of consensus among decision makers.

Lack of identification of major problems.

Lack of effective role for formulators.

Unsuitable training system.

Unclear regulation and executive policies.

Organisational Issues

Incompatible structure with the strategy.

Unsuitable resource allocation.

Lack of adequate communication.

Lack of effective coordination.

Lack of adequate information system.

Incompatible organisational culture.

Competing activities among people.

Competing activities among units.

Unsuitable evaluation and control systems.

Unsuitable compensation systems.

Inadequate physical facilities.

Managerial Issues

Unsuitable leadership.

Lack of adequate organisational support.

Lack of adequate manager commitment.

Fear of insecurity among managers.

Political factors in regard to power.

Unsuitable personnel management.

Uncontrollable factors.

Individual Issues

Lack of enough capabilities of employees.

Resistance to change among people.

Resistance to change among units.

Fear of insecurity in the new territory.

Lack of understanding of the strategy.

Inadequate connection to the vision.

Environmental Issues

Political-economic impeders.

Impact of competitive environment.

In a later study, (Rahimnia et al., 2009) made new additions to those impeders that have been identified in the earlier research. They conducted a study on higher education institutions in Iran and new findings like changing plans in the implementation and unrealistic and idealistic plans were the new findings that were made under planning consequences issues. They pointed out that the strategic plans are ambiguous and lack of clarity of the objectives set are affecting the plans.

Under organisational issues, (Rahimnia et al., 2009) discovered lack of adequate postgraduate degrees, unsuitable executive approach and lack of suitable incentive system to be impeders. These are in addition to those already identified in (Alashloo et al., 2005). They also identified the absence of appropriate resource allocation due to channels of approval and partiality in allocation of budget to departments of the institutions. Rahimnia et al. (2009) stipulated that a clear link between strategy and culture will significantly aid the success of a strategy. This same idea has been supported by (Dobni, 2003).

Lack of adequate motivation as a result of limited power and unstable management as well as shortage of managers with positive attitude towards research activities were additional impeders identified in the same study under managerial issues.

In addition to the above, under individual issues, (Rahimnia et al., 2009) mentioned lack of adequate morale of team work and lack of enough motivation among academic staffs as new to their findings. These are in addition to shortage of skills to conduct research by staffs which have been identified

Lastly is environmental issues to which (Rahimnia et al., 2009) mentioned socio-cultural factors like lack of sharing of knowledge with researchers and fear or leaking out research findings to competitors and government impeders like lack of support from government organisations towards research.


The literature review conducted has established that several perspectives are held as to what really constitutes strategy and goes on to discuss these views. It also establishes that there are contrasting views as to whether strategic planning and strategic management mean the same thing but agreed that both are managerial processes that aim to achieving the goals and objectives of the organisation.

The literature review also established that though there are different ingredients that make up the strategic management process, more attention is being given to the formulation aspect of the process with implementation often overlooked which is contrary to the fact that no matter how good a plan is, poor implementation of the plan will render it almost useless.




The purpose of this section is to describe how the research would be carried out. Research according to (Walliman, 2011) in the academic context refers to finding out things that other people do not know either. Hence, research methods are techniques that are used to carry out research. He said "they represent the tools of the trade, and provide you with ways to collect, sort and analyse information so that you can come to some conclusions" (Walliman, 2011: 7). The various steps to be taken in the methodology include the research philosophy, its approach, strategy, and the research choice. Others include the time horizon, techniques and procedures of data collection and the validity of the research. A justification of the various options made will be described.


Before we look at the research philosophies, let us look into the research paradigms of ontology and epistemology.

Ontology refers to the nature of life. According to Saunders et al. (2012), it raises questions about the assumptions researchers harbour concerning the way in which the world operates and the commitment to particular views. Blaikie (1993) postulates that It conveys peoples opinion with regards claims or assumptions on the nature of reality and questions the objectivity or subjectivity of this reality. The first aspect of ontology as described by (Crotty, 1998) in (Saunders et al., 2012) is objectivism. It depicts the existence of things such as social entities as meaningful reality different from the social actors concerned with their existence. The second aspect is subjectivism. This maintains that social phenomena are created through the perceptions and consequent actions of affected social actors (Saunders et al., 2012). This interaction between the social actors are a continuous process, hence, the social phenomena are subject to frequent revisions.

Epistemology on the other hand is the study of the nature of knowledge and its justification, looking at where the knowledge has come from and how we know what we know (Dawson, 2002). This asks questions such as how the knowledge is created and the kind of measures in place to separate good from bad knowledge. Saunders et al., (2012) says that epistemology is concerned with what constitutes acceptable knowledge in the field of study. Two aspects also exist for it, these are the Objectivist epistemology also known as "resources researchers" and Subjectivist epistemology also known as "feelings researcher". The objectivist according to (Saunders et al., 2012) considers data on resources needed to more likely be connected to the position of natural scientist. They argued that for such researchers, reality is represented by objects that are considered real, with these objects having a separate existence to the researchers. Subjectivist epistemology on the other hand is concerned with feelings and attitude and has an understanding of the presence of differences among social actors (Saunders et al., 2012).


Subjective ontology and epistemology will be adopted by this research because it is most suitable for answering the research questions as it gives an ample opportunity to the researcher to make meaning of data obtained from interviewees.

Now the researcher will like to look into the various research philosophies that could be adopted for the research and a decision as to which fits better with the work carried out. These include Positivism, Realism and Interpretivism.


Positivism has to do with the the idea that things are what they are and are not subject to different interpretations from different people. Knowledge in this approach is attained by the use of scientific methods and thus is built on what is already known (Walliman, 2011). This view has been supported by (Saunders et al., 2012: 134) where they said that "if your research reflects the philosophy of positivism then you will probably adopt the philosophical stance of natural scientist". It makes use of mathematical models, experiments and thus quantitative analysis as It aims at developing a unique and elegant description of of any choosen aspect of the world that is true regardless of what people think (Walliman, 2011). Gill and Johnson (2003) as cited in (Saunders et al., 2012) pointed out that it is frequently advocated that the positivist view will most likely employ the use of a structured methodology to enable replication and emphasises on quantifiable observations like statistical analysis. Though Saunders et al., (2012) highlighted that this may not necessarily be the case as it is possible to adopt some of the characteristics of the positivist philosophy like hypothesis using data collected from in-depth interview. A researcher with positivist view of the world holds that reality is objective and independent of the observer and so can be measured and predicted (Orlikowski and Baroudi, 1991; Remenyi et al., 1998) as cited in (Biggam, 2011).


This is another philosophical position that relates to scientific enquiry (Saunders et al., 2012). They said this approach suggests that there is reality that is independent of the mind and that what we sense is reality. Crotty (1998) as cited in (Saunders et al., 2012) opined that realism is opposed to idealism which is the theory that only the mind and its contents exists. Realism are of two types, direct and critical realism.


This goes totally contrary to the positivist view (Hatch and Cunlife, 2006; Biggam, 2011). According to Walliman (2011: 21) "Interpretivism is based on the philosophical doctrines of idealism and humanism". It requires the understanding and interpretation of the world as it is at a particular point (Saunders et al, 2007). This philosophy highlights that we view the world as we think of it and is subject to different interpretations by different people (Walliman, 2011). The idea of interpretivism enmanated from the traditons of phenomenology and symbolic interactionism (Saunders et al., 2012). They described phenomenology as a way in which humans make sence of the world around them and symbolic interactionism refers to where humans are in a continual process of interpreting the social world around them with the interpretation leading to the adjustment of their meanings and actions.The researcher in this case has a job of describing the meanings of created by people as interpreted rather than discovery of new laws. Human participation and observation, and the timing of their occurance is vital to their resarch (Biggam, 2011). Walliman (2011) suggested that this is suitable for qualitative analysis as it seeks maningful relationships and consequences of their interaction.


This research has adopted the interpretivist philosophy as it best describes the work to be done. Knowledge that exists is mostly in the mind of its carrier and so group of people coming together to derive, understand and interpret experience in form of a study is essential (Hatch and Cunlife, 2006). As was stated earlier, it suitable for qualitative analysis as it seeks meaningful relationships and consequences of their interaction in a view to answering questions raised by the research. As the researcher aims to answer the question of "What are the problems encountered in the implementation of strategic planning in Bayero University Kano?” this will help in understanding and making interpretations of the respondents views.


There are two types of approaches to research which have come into play as a result of ways of thinking, these are deductive and inductive approaches.


This begins with a general statement and reaches a particular conclusion through logical arguments (Walliman, 2011). This according to Saunders et al. (2003) is popularly used in natural sciences where theories are developed and tested through emperical observation and allows the anticipation of phenomena, predicting their occurance and allowing them to be controlled. ketokivi and Mantere (2010) as cited in (Saunders et al., 2012: 143) said that" this approach occurs when the conclusion is derived logically from a set of premises, the conclusion being true when all the premises are true". It has some important qualities like allowing the search to explain casual relationships between concepts and variables and reliability due to the use of highly structured methodology it uses.


Inductive reasoning on the other hand, starts from specific observations or sensory experiences and then attempts to draw a general conclusion from them (Walliman, 2011). Hence, this is an opposite of the deductive reasoning approach. Saunders et al. (2003) pointed out that in this instance, theories are developed with the sole aim of explaining the observations made, hence, a gap exists in the logical arguement between conclusion and premises observed, this conclusion being judged to be supported by the observation made (Saunders et al., 2012). The aim of the researcher in this approach include having an understanding the kind of problem being faced by having a hands on experience on matters. Achieving this aim will involve making sense of data that has been gathered by applying a strategy and creating a theory afterwards.


This research will adopt the inductive approach as it is offers a chance for the researcher to interpret the response of the interviewees and make sense of it. The research that is conducted is concerned with the situation in which events occur making it more suitable for the inductive approach as supported by (Saunders et al., 2012).


Two types of research designs have been identified. These are quantitative as well as qualitative. In Quantitative, numbers are used to record much information about science and society where these numbers can be analysed using statistical techniques (Walliman, 2011). Also highlighting the view that data collected and expressed numerically is quantitative are (Ghosh and Chopra, 2003). The numbers involved tend to be more complex than just obtaining straightforward quantitative information. As such, as most scientific research involve quantifiable data, they mostly fall under the quantitative research (Biggam, 2011).

The other type of research design is Qualitative. This is mostly linked to in-depth exploratory study where the opportunity for quality responses are found (Biggam, 2011). Due to the fact that not all the information that will be useful can make use of numbers, only words can be used in certain situations like involving emotions and ideas, comfort and beliefs etc. as these records qualities rather than quantities hence they are called Qualitative (Walliman, 2011). The qualitative research is more iterative and inductive. It starts with an issue or a question, collect and analyse the gathered data and then start to formulate theory (Emerald, 2012). Denzin and Lincoln (1994: 2) pointed out that this form of research has to do with studying "things in their natural settings, attempting to make sense of, or interpret phenomena in terms of meanings people bring to them".


The Qualitative design will be used as it is more suited to the explanation that has been made above on qualitative rather than quantitative. People’s views will be interpreted in order to try and answer the questions raised by this research. Also, numbers will not be used in this research which makes it more of a qualitative rather than quantitative research.


A case study method has been adopted by the researcher to achieve the objectives of the research. It gives the researcher a chance to get a clear position of things as it has the advantage of being real. The case study approach is popularly used in carrying out business research (Eisenhardt and Graebner, 2007). In this type of research, an observation of the characteristics of the Bayero University Kano will be looked into with the aim of probing deeply into and analysing the multi-farious phenomena that constitute the life cycle of the unit (Biggam, 2011). "It is a research in which the subject is studied within its social, political, organisational or economic context and is one of the commonest approaches across the social and management sciences" (Adolphus, 2012). It went further to say that the subject that is been researched is studied comprehensively as an example of real life phenomenon within the context it happens. Yin (2006) as cited in (Adolphus, 2012) said that case study research is most suitable when descriptive or explanatory questions are being addressed and it is idle in describing current situation where in-depth description is useful and manipulation of events is not needed. His definition of case study which is mostly used by many authors is "it is an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon in depth and within its real-life context, especially when the boundaries between the phenomenon and the context are not clearly evident" (Yin, 2009: 638-650). Also Yin (2003) as cited in (Adolphus, 2012) identifies three case studies. These are exploratory, descriptive and explanatory. However, out of the three types mentioned only explanatory can stand alone and not be dependent on other quantitative approaches.


There are two types of time horizon in a research project, they are longitudinal also known as "diary" as well as cross-sectional which is sometimes referred to as "snapshot" (Saunders et al., 2012). The cross-sectional time horizon is normally common where time is limited and of essence to the researcher. It is a study of a particular phenomenon at a particular time (Saunders et al., 2012). The longitudinal time horizon on the other hand normally requires a longer period of time to achieve its results but has the strength of being able to deal with change and development while observing people and events overtime. However, this research will employ the cross-sectional time horizon as a result of time limitation being faced by the researcher.


"Data comes in two main forms, depending on its closeness to the event recorded" (Walliman, 2011: 69). There is primary as well as secondary data. We come across primary data every day and it has been described as data which has been observed, experienced or recorded close to the event while Secondary data are the written sources that record and interpret primary data (Walliman, 2011; Biggam, 2011).

This research will use a blend of both primary and secondary data. All researches require secondary data at least for the background as no research is conducted in a vacuum (Walliman, 2011). Mentioned also was the fact that comparison can be made between the secondary data and primary data collected to triangulate findings and put your data into a larger context.

There are various ways in which data can be collected. These include Interviews, focus groups, questionnaires and observation of the participants etc. However, this research will be making use of interviews for the purpose of collecting data. This method is suited for research questions that require adequate probing in order to get information that is needed. It is quite flexible as well, with a range of applications (Walliman, 2011).

(Saunders et al., 2012: 372) describes research interview as "a purposeful conversation between two or more people requiring the interviewer to establish rapport, as ask concise and unambiguous questions, to which the interviewee is willing to respond, and to listen attentively". They said research interview is about asking purposeful questions and carefully paying attention to answers to be able to explore them further. Interviews according to (Saunders et al., 2012) can be structured, semi-structured or unstructured.

The structured interview is sometimes referred to as interviewer-administered questionnaires as they use questionnaire based on predetermined set of questions. The interviewer in this case has significant control of the process.

(Saunders et al., 2012) considered the unstructured interviews to be more formal. It can be useful in exploring a general area of interest, hence, it is referred to as in-depth interviews. Unlike the structured interview where predetermined questions are used, in this case there are none. What is however needed is to have an idea of areas that are to be explored. The interviewee in this form of interview has the independence to talk about events, thus labelled informant interview.

The third type of interview which is to be adopted for the purpose of this research is referred to as semi-structured interview. This type and the unstructured described above are "non-standardized". (King, 2004) as cited in (Saunders et al., 2012) refers to them as qualitative interview. The semi-structured falls somewhere between the other two. (Saunders et al., 2012) suggested that a list of themes will be maintained by the researcher with some potential questions to be covered, as circumstances may warranty the need to ask some of the questions in cases but not in all. This tends to offer more flexibility as some questions will be asked, others will not and new questions can be brought in if the opportunity to do arises. Data should be captured by means of audio recording

This research is based on interviews with academic staffs of different levels in the University. It was carried out through telephone as this avoids the necessity of travelling to the respondents, hence, making it quicker to carry out (Walliman, 2011). These interviews was conducted from Manchester, United Kingdom and will be done in English making the interviewee understand the subject.

Secondary data was also used by the research during the course of the data collection and after. This helped in having a clearer understanding the area researched and in clarifying some of the data collected from the interviewees.



Research question to answer

Question based on

What is your understanding of strategy?

What are the factors affecting the successful implementation of strategic planning in higher education institutions?

Alashloo et al. (2005)

Explain the Strategy you think is going on in Bayero University Kano?

What are the factors affecting the successful implementation of strategic planning in higher education institutions?

Alashloo et al. (2005)

Do you think you have a role to play in the implementation of Strategy in Bayero University Kano? If yes, what is the role?

What are the problems encountered in the implementation of strategic planning in Bayero University Kano?

Alashloo et al. (2005)

What do you think are the barriers faced in the Implementation of Strategy in Bayero University Kano?

What are the problems encountered in the implementation of strategic planning in Bayero University Kano?

Alashloo et al. (2005)

How do you think these can be overcome?

How can strategic planning implementation be improved in Bayero University Kano towards achieving an efficient and effective planning process?

Alashloo et al. (2005)

Do you think insufficient capabilities of employees is a barrier to strategic planning in your institution? If yes, how?

What are the problems encountered in the implementation of strategic planning in Bayero University Kano?

Alashloo et al. (2005)

Is employee’s resistance to change a barrier in the implementation of Strategic planning in Bayero University? If yes, how?

What are the problems encountered in the implementation of strategic planning in Bayero University Kano?

Alashloo et al. (2005)

Can fear of failure and insecurity be an impeder to strategic planning implementation? If yes, how?

What are the problems encountered in the implementation of strategic planning in Bayero University Kano?

Alashloo et al. (2005)

What do you think of about the political, economic and general environment with regards to implementation of strategy?

What are the problems encountered in the implementation of strategic planning in Bayero University Kano?

Alashloo et al. (2005)

Source: Author


According to Saunders et al. (2012) there are two types of sampling techniques that can be used, these are probability or representative sampling and non-probability sampling. They described probability sampling as a technique which is mostly used in cases involving survey and experiment research strategies with every case having a chance or probability of being selected from the population known and equal for each case. Non-probability sampling on the other hand (Saunders et al., 2012) mentioned that the probability of each case being selected from the total population is not known. They highlighted that this technique is partly subjective. SAMPLING TECHNIQUE ADOPTED

This research will be employing non-probability sampling technique, purposive sampling to be precise. According to Saunders et al. (2012), in this type of sampling, judgement is needed to select cases that will best enable the researcher to answer his research questions. It is mostly employed when small samples are used like when adopting case study, which this research uses. So heterogeneous sampling which is a form of purposive sampling will be adopted since judgement was used in selecting respondents with diverse characteristics in the quest to explain key themes (Saunders et al., 2012).


"This refers to the extent to which the researcher has gained access to a participants knowledge and experience, and is able to infer meanings that the participant intends from the language used by that person" (Saunders et al., 2012:382). They argued that in a semi-structured and in-depth interview like the one adopted for the purpose of this research, validity may be attained where care is taken in the conduct due to the clarity of questions, exploring further the questions and responses from different positions.


Questions can be raised in methods such as interview with regards the validity of the data due to the absence of standardization (Saunders et al., 2012). Easterby-Smith et al., (2008); Silverman (2007) as cited in (Saunders et al., 2012) mentioned that in relation to qualitative research, reliability has to do with whether or not another researcher will arrive at similar outcome. This can hardly be obtainable (Saunders et al., 2012) they were of the view that an attempt to replicate a qualitative, non-standardised research would be unrealistic without hurting the strength of the type of research. (Marshal and Rossman, 2006) suggested that notes should be retained.


Saunders et al. (2012) describes the term as the extent to which the outcome of the research work is applicable to other scenarios. They said that as a result of the little unrepresentative number of cases in qualitative research, question of generalisability is raised. As for this research, due to the rigour and nature of sample and information obtained from the samples, it can be said that it is more likely to be useful than one that lacks such attributes. This is supported by Bryman 1988 as cited in (Saunders et al., 2012).


The analysis of the research was done with the aid of CAQDAS. This according to Saunders et al. (2012: 581) " when used systematically can aid continuity and increases both transparency and methodological rigour". Nvivo was used due to the assertion made above in order to make it more systematic and transparent.