An exploratory study on strategic planning and the role of communication in the public service of Namibia with specific reference to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare.
Wandjiva, Jackson Tuhafeni
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A strategic plan is a management tool that is used to transform organizational objectives into actions. Public Service managers have a responsibility to ensure that strategic plans are developed to stir the organization in the desired direction. However, crafting the best strategy is not the end in itself but the ultimate result will only be realized once the plan is successfully implemented, hence the need for effective communication during strategy formulation and implementation. The study focused on the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare (MGECW) and covered a cross section of senior managers, middle managers and junior employees. It involved exploring the impact of communication during strategy formulation and implementation, and investigating effective ways of communicating the formulation and implementation of strategic plans in the Public Service of Namibia. The study was qualitative in nature whereby in-depth interviews and focus group discussions were used as instruments, with senior, middle and lower level employees of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare in Windhoek. The Directorates that participated in the study from the MGECW are: Directorate of Child Welfare Services; Directorate of Gender Equality; Directorate of Integrated Early Childhood and Community Development and the Directorate of Administration and General Services. The study followed an interpretivism research philosophy as it believes that the world and reality are not objective and exterior to the researcher, but are socially constructed and given meaning to people. All twenty-eight targeted respondents took part in the research study either by means of in-depth interviews or focus group discussions. All the participants were selected using a simple random sampling technique from a pool of 478 full time employees to serve as a representative sample of the Public Sector. The researcher personally conducted the in-depth interviews and focus group discussions while taking down notes. The study finds that, effective communication is not taking place during strategic planning process, hence majority of the employees who participated in this study felt excluded in the whole process and contribute less toward the implementation of the plan. Moreover, the study reveals that only senior and middle level employees are involved in the strategic planning process while the juniors are left out due to a lack of proper x information dissemination. According to the respondents, employees serving in the AMC and MTI committees do not provide feedback to their fellow employees to enlighten them on the decisions and strategies made. It also became evident that, this exclusion led to juniors to have a negative attitude towards the strategic planning process and have a declining morale. Hence, the study recommends that effective communication should be emphasized during strategic planning process to ensure stakeholders buy-in through sensitization exercises, e.g. regular feedback, workshops and interactive supervisor-subordinate discussions.
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