INSTITUTIONAL MANAGEMENT PRACTICES, SUSTAINABILITY STRATEGIES AND PERFORMANCE OF CHARTERED PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES IN KENYA
KARIUKI, PETER WANDURUA
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The performance of public universities is a global concern over the last few decades. In Kenya, this has been demonstrated by challenges such as financial constraints evidenced by inability to meet their debt obligations and statutory remittances; poor academic quality marked by low global ranking; inadequate research funding and limited community engagements. Universities have in the past intervened through Institutional management practices with little improvement in performance. The specific objectives of the study were to determine influence of transparency; adherence to management guidelines; level of public participation and to establish the moderating influence of sustainability strategies on the relationship between Institutional management practices and performance of public universities in Kenya. The study was anchored on resource based and social network theories. The study used a pragmatic philosophy and mixed research method with a target population of 31 chartered public universities. This was a census study and the respondents were 230 university top managers. Primary data was collected using a structured questionnaire and an interview guide. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics, while qualitative data was analyzed using content analysis. Findings revealed that Institutional management practices had a statistical significant influence on performance of public universities in Kenya (adjusted R 2 0.37, P 0.000) with level of transparency adjusted R 2 0.307, P 0.000; adherence to management guidelines R 2 0.309, P 0.000 and level of public participation adjusted R 2 0.226, P 0.000. The study also established that sustainability strategies moderated the relationship between Institutional management practices and performance of public universities in Kenya. The regression analysis revealed that Institutional management practices alone accounted for 52% of the variation in performance of public universities (adjusted R 2 =0.52). Sustainability strategies accounted for 39% (adjusted R 2 =0.39). The interaction term (Institutional management practices and sustainability strategies) accounted for 72 % of the variation in performance of public universities. These results were in agreement with the findings of qualitative data analysis. The study concluded that implementation of sustainability strategies combined with adherence to good Institutional management practices are essential strategies that public universities can adopt to improve their performance. The study recommended that public universities should implement sustainability strategies alongside good Institutional management practices so as to remain competitive and relevant.