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CHALLENGES OF MANAGING STRATEGIC CHANGE AT THE NEW KENYA CO-OPERATIVE CREAMERIES LTD

Although change management has become a common activity for many organizations,
there is often insufficient knowledge about many of the relevant issues among managers.
Consequently, many change initiatives fail when managers meet challenges. This study
sought to establish the challenges of change management at the New Kenya Co-operative
Creameries Ltd and how the company addresses them. The study found that New KCC
combines top-down and bottom-up approaches to managing change which results in a
greater sense of participation and ownership by all stakeholders and lower resistance. The
challenges experienced by the firm included frequent changes in its top leadership,
political interference and bureaucracy, inadequate resources and rivalry from
technologically superior competitors. New KCC addresses these challenges by
maintaining a flexible approach towards change and pursuing a human resource strategy
that places strategically competent people in managerial positions. It also conducts
continuous reviews of performance to ensure an alignment between activities and
objectives, and between its strategy and the environment. Resistance to change is treated
as an opportunity for fruitful engagement between change leaders and followers. The
study recommends that New KCC keeps up the practice of involving all stakeholders in
change management. It also needs to map its challenges and responses in order to match
them strategically. Given the Board of Directors‟ relatively more political nature
compared to the management team, there is need to allow the latter a greater role in the
firm‟s strategic decisions since they are better placed to safeguard the company‟s
business interests. The study also takes note of the increasingly positive light in which
recent literature views resistance to change. Consequently, it recommends a study to
establish the value of resistance to the process of managing change. With regard to
policy, the study considers the question of “political interference” in the running of
parastatals. It questions the logic of referring to government actions as “interference” if it
is accepted, at the same time, that the government owns the business. It is proposed that
there should be greater acceptance of the government‟s involvement as that of a
legitimate business owner and to factor this acceptance into the business strategies. This
will significantly reduce the negativity with which government involvement is viewed.

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