• Mary K. Kibuine
  • Gituro Wainaina
  • James Njihia Muranga


University education in Kenya experienced rapid changes in 80s and 90s which magnified in the
2020s to create challenges in meeting the expectations. Some of the changes were double intakes
of 1984-1985, 1987-1988, 1990-1991 and later 2010-2011 academic years. University intake of
1987-1988 alone, increased student population by 75.2% but later reduced in 2016-2017 intake.
A myriad of other complex agility related factors caused challenges but also created
opportunities for higher education. For example, USIU-Africa and Strathmore universities,
registered positive performance in the year 2009-2015 while many others experienced challenges
compared to the previous years which implied that either rapid negative agility factors were
affecting universities differently or there were certain contingent competitive advantage
strategies that were contributing to the difference in performance. The enumerated factors
motivated the commencement of the study whose objective was to determine the relationship
between organizational agility and performance of chartered universities in Kenya and a
corresponding null hypothesis was formulated to the effect that; there was no relationship
between organizational agility and performance of chartered universities in Kenya. The study
was anchored on general systems theory and adopted positivism philosophical research view
with descriptive, cross sectional and survey as research designs. The unit of analysis was 48
chartered universities whereas the unit of observation was 271 Deans of Faculties/ Schools. Each
sector was analysed separately because of significant variance in responses. The finding
indicated a significant positive relationship between organizational agility and performance of
public universities but the same was negative and insignificant with respect to private
universities contrary to the notion that poor performance of universities in Kenya was caused
by rapid changes associated with agility. Private universities also had superior capabilities and
reacted better to drivers of agility. However, market drivers of agility affected both equally. The
findings offered various contributions to theory, policy and practice. The proposition of the
theory was found to underlie the relationship because of continuous interaction between the
internal and external environments of the universities which in turn influence performance.
Policy makers can utilize the findings as a guide to formulate and implement policies that focus
on drivers, enablers and response to agility. Findings will create awareness of how universities
can take advantage of opportunities created by agility rather than attributing failures on agility.
Future studies may focus more on effect of individual dimensions of organizational agility and
measures of performance on public and private universities separately. A modified replication
of the study across industries is recommended on a continuous basis because drivers of agility
are diverse and keep changing with time, geographical location, social and economic
Key Words: Organizational agility, drivers, enablers and responses to drivers of agility.