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Awakening a Dying Company Organ

  Mar 4, 2016

Senior Faculty Publishes Case at The Case Center

Ailing companies in pursuit of survival often prefer to cut off low performing departments or branches. How then, can middle level managers, or heads of departments, turn around such a department whilst working under a time-ticking bomb time line?

Dr. Frederick Ogola, Senior faculty and Director of MBA Programs at Strathmore Business School, gives insights on these dynamic concepts, through a case study, dubbed, “Turnaround of a loss making dental unit: A specialist dentist dilemma – float or swim.” The case published by The Case Center, explores the dynamics of healthcare management, and narrates the turnaround of a loss making dental department, facing little support from the senior management team.

The background of the case is of a distinguished private hospital, in an emerging economy Kenya, Africa, where regulations pertaining to healthcare aren’t enforced as ideally as expected in the developed world. The case study narrates the experience of a newly appointed head of department and the numerous decisions he had to make for his turnaround strategy to be effective.

This case surveys the disconnect that exists between senior management and middle –level management at the operational level, which can be costly especially in a healthcare environment. Secondly, it inspires mid-level managers to maximize on their resources in a constrained environment.

“Managers working towards a turnaround strategy are often caught between a rock and a hard place often on the confusion on what to tackle first. The protagonist realizes that he can maximize on the resources readily available, a strategy which did not require any extra expenditure. Managers must learn how to best make use of the resources in their hands,” remarks, Dr. Ogola.

Relevance and Teaching Points

Most managers, tend to look for farfetched solutions, often resolving to hire more staff members. Managers can motivate the already deployed staff, and innovatively, accomplish tasks that would have otherwise, required extra labor.

They must also identify what is within their sphere of control, and work towards maximizing on that. These are things they have a hand in and can deliberately perform without anyone’s approval.

In the case, the protagonist suggests simple things that can be done to make the department distinctive, and as a result, simple initiatives can be seen yielding significant returns. These take home points for strategists and managers, should evoke them to creatively make use of their innate capabilities, competences and their resources rather than focus on what their bosses aren’t doing to make them perform.

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