Toward Effective Strategy Implementation: the Role of Strategic Leadership Organizational Innovativeness and Information Technology Capability. Empirical Evidence

Research Article

Austin J Bus Adm Manage. 2018; 2(3): 1032.

Toward Effective Strategy Implementation: the Role of Strategic Leadership Organizational Innovativeness and Information Technology Capability. Empirical Evidence

Palladan AA*

School of Business Education, Federal College of Education, Nigeria

*Corresponding author: Ahmad A. Palladan, School of Business Education, Federal College of Education, Ashaka Road, PMB 60, Gombe, Nigeria

Received: April 12, 2018; Accepted: May 22, 2018; Published: May 29, 2018


This study investigates the determinants of perceived organizational strategy implementation among public tertiary institutions in Nigeria. Primarily, the study explored the effects of Strategic Leadership (SL), Organizational Innovativeness (OI) and Information Technology Capability (ITC) on Effective Strategy Implementation (ESI). More precisely the direct effect of SL, OI and ITC on ESI was assessed. The study also examines the moderating effect of ITC on SL and OI on ESI. Thirteen public tertiary institutions were considered by the research. One hundred and four deans who serve as the research respondents were sampled out of the population total of 143 deans from the institutions. Hand delivery of questionnaires was used to solicit information from the respondents. Partial Least Squares Method (PLS 2) algorithm and bootstrap techniques were used to test the study hypotheses. The results provided support for most of the hypothesized relationship for the study. Specifically, SL, OI and ITC are found to be significant and positively affect organizational ESI. Additionally, ITC has been found to significantly moderate the relationship between SI and perceive ESI. While negative moderating effect of ITC was found between OI and perceive ESI. PIIT theory as well as Diffusion of Innovation Theory was partly considered as probable reasons for the negative finding. Therefore, significant positive effects of SL, OI and ITC suggest that the variables are important in facilitating ESI. As such, public tertiary institutions in Nigeria should be encouraged to demonstrate these behaviors for enhanced success of organizational strategy implementation. Enhanced success of effective strategy implementation could improve the overall effective function of the organizations.

Keywords: Strategic leadership; Organizational innovativeness; IT capability; Effective strategy implementation; Tertiary institutions


In today’s world, strategic management is gaining more ground as a tool for managing public tertiary institutions for better results [1]. The need for strategic management practices in Nigerian public tertiary institutions grew when the organizations shifted from relatively stable environment to environment that is characterized by increasing competition and shortages of resources [2]. For these institutions, adoption of strategic management practices at this moment is very timely. Strategic management practices are needed in an environment where new forms of influence are imaging and where norms and values as well as social utility of organizations is being challenged and redefined [3].

Ali and Hadi argued that the main challenge in strategic management process is associated with strategy implementation. A good strategic plan if effectively executed will certainly give an institution superior competitive advantage [4]. Revealing (Figure 1) from [5] suggest that less than 10% of well-formulated strategies are effectively executed. Additionally, [6,7] reported a similar result of just 10% of strategies being effectively executed. Correspondingly, it was reported that strategy implementation in Chinese firms has become a subject of discussion, with survey indicating that 83% organizations failed, and only 17% organizations were successful [8].

It has been documented in the extent literature that Nigerian tertiary institutions have formulated strategies, missions and visions aimed at excellence [9]. However, these strategies are still far from been realized [10]. The reason for this unhealthy situation is lack of effective strategy implementation that resulted in their deficient performance [11]; [1]. The issue of performance in Nigerian public tertiary institutions has continued to attract the attention of government and the public. This issue of performance is pushing more and more students to opt for other countries outside Nigeria for furtherance of their education [12]. Presently the expenses of Nigerian students abroad are said to be more than 2 Billion dollars annually [13].

In Nigerian context, we argued that strategic leadership and organizational innovativeness are the top variables that affect strategy implementation in public tertiary institutions. Quite number of literatures had affirmed that lack of effective leadership is the most influential factor that retards effective strategy implementation in Nigerian for profit and non-profit organizations [14-17]; while innovation has been recommended as the single factor desirable to promote institutional performance in Nigerian public tertiary institutions [18-20].

Numerous strategy literatures heavily emphasize the superiority of internal organizational competencies when it comes to seeking of competitive advantages [21-24]. One of the most essential organizational internal competitive superiorities is leadership style. Substantial number of strategic researchers and practitioners are on the agreement that strategic leaders are the backbone for any meaningful strategy implementation and organizational efficiency [25-27]. On the other hand, organizational innovation ability (innovativeness) has been regarded as integral part of organizational competitive advantage and effective instrument for effective strategy implementation [21,28].

However, most of previous strategic leadership studies on strategy implementation are based on the single-actor or ‘hero’ leader. This notion seems to be erroneous especially in the context of Nigerian tertiary institutions. In this paper, we conceptualized strategic leadership to consist of several of actors; something similar to distributed leadership. Thus, head of departments, deans and directors in the institutions are regarded as part of strategic leaders due their enormous contribution in any meaningful strategy implementation.

This study also proposes IT capability to moderate the relationship between strategic leadership and organizational innovativeness on effective implementation of strategies in Nigerian public institution. IT capability as argued [29] is organizational ability to mobilize and deploy IT based resources combined with other resources and capabilities to achieve competitive advantages. Information technology capability is found to be a popular factor that wields considerable influence on several organizational intangible resources [30,31].

Additionally, scholars argued that there is need to comprehend the essentiality of information technology in the operations of Nigerian public tertiary institutions [32]. This is very timely as maximization of IT capability in the institutions has the potential of enhancing quality of policies, as well as leading to greater and proper implementation of institutional strategies and monitoring [33,34].

Resource Based View [35] is the theory underpinning this study. Organizational resources consist of all organizational assets tangible and intangible, as well as human and nonhuman that are owned or controlled by the organization [35,36]. Distinctively, intangible organizational resources such as strategic leadership, knowledge, innovation ability, permit organization to add up value to incoming factors of production [37]. And they represent competitive advantages for an organization [38,41].

Conceptual framework

Based on the previous discussions and theoretical gaps highlighted above, a conceptual framework for this study was developed demonstrating the role of IT capability as moderating variable on the relationship between (1) strategic leadership; (2) organizational innovativeness and effective strategy implementation.


Strategic leadership is defined as “the leader’s ability to anticipate, envision, and maintain flexibility and to empower others to create strategic change as necessary” [42]. The measures for this construct ware measured employing the methodological approach presented by Baum, Locke and Kirkpatrick [43] in collaboration with Bass and [44] Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) – Form 6S. The MLQ questionnaire was found to be among the best instruments as well as one of the most utilized set of measures for all leadership researches. The MLQ instruments consist of three broad segments that represent transformational, transactional and laissez- faire leadership behaviors. However, laissez- faire behaviour segment in the MLQ questionnaire was not used, because as argued Elenkov, Judge and [45], laissez- faire leadership behaviors defy the very essence of strategic leadership. Thus, the researchers adapted sixteen items from the MLQ. The visionary aspect of strategic leadership was measured using three essential attributes proposed by [46]. According to Hurley and [47], organizational innovativeness is the notion of openness to new ideas as a characteristic of organization’s culture. Thus, innovativeness is a gauge of an organization’s orientation toward innovation. Ten indicators were adapted from [48] and Hurley and [47] to measure this construct. IT capability construct is use as a onedimensional construct in this study. It will be measured using three dimensions. The measurements for these dimensions were adapted from [49]. It contains seventeen measurable items. The respondents are required to assess their organization on the perceived application of IT capability measured in three dimensions; knowledge, object and operation. All the constructs were measured using six Likert scale.

A total of 124 questionnaires were administered to chief executives, deans and head of departments of thirteen public tertiary institutions located in Kaduna state of Nigeria. Strategic scholars argued that taking several informed and knowledgeable respondents from an organization to serve as respondents limit the potentiality of measurement error [50-54] sampling techniques was used to determine the sample size. In the end, 112 questionnaires were duly completed and returned. This represent 91.1% percent response rate. In the end, 108 questionnaires were finally considered for analysis. The PLS SEM 2 software was used for the analysis due to its flexibility for statistical model building as well as prediction [55].


Individual item reliability

The reliability of individual items was ascertained by looking the outer loadings of every construct’s measure [56]. Adhering to the rule of thumb for keeping items with loadings that ranges between .40 and .70 [56], it was discovered that out of 48 items, 5 items were deleted because their loading fall short below the threshold of 0.40. Hence, in the whole model, only 43 items were retained because their loadings are above 0.50.

Assessing the measurement model

Table 1 depicts the results of AVE calculations with resulting coefficients that range from 0.50 to 0.86, signifying that convergence validity has been attained for all the variables. By obtaining the results of the convergence validity that signifies satisfactory item loadings, composite reliability satisfactory AVE coefficients for the individual indicators, it was clearly enough to prove that the items stand for distinct latent constructs, therefore establishing their convergence valid (Table 2).