Organisational Change. A Case Study of Kenya's Ministry of Land

Term Paper, 2015
13 Pages, Grade: 1,3



1. Introduction

2. Discussion
2.1. The Old Structure of the Ministry of Land and the Need for Change
2.2. The New Structure Following the Organisational Change
2.3. Fernandez and Rainey’s (2006) Model as the Analytical Framework
2.4. Analysing the Organisational Change in the Context of the Analytical Framework

3. Observations and Recommendations

4. Conclusion

Reference Sources

1. Introduction

This paper is about organisational change in the Kenyan Ministry of Land. Organisational change is defined as a process of moving from one fixed state to another through a series of predictable and preplanned steps (Burnes, 1996) in order to implement changes in the governance, design and delivery of public services (Fernandez & Rainey, 2006). These series of predictable and preplanned steps are, in my learned opinion, subject to an analytical framework that guides the organisation to successfully implement the change. There are very few studies on organisational change in the public sector (Kelman, 2005; Kickert, 2010), particularly in Kenya. Hence, this paper is a first attempt at examining the change effected in the organisation of the Ministry of Land in 2012 using Fernandez and Rainey’s (2006) model as the analytical framework to analyse the change and discuss whether it was successful or not. It is important to note that little is known about organisational change in a public sector context (Kelman, 2005; Piening, 2013; McNulty & Ferlie, 2004) because studies concerning organisational change in the public sector focus on the national level as a whole instead of specific organisational departments (Kickert, 2010; Pollitt & Bouckaert, 2004).

Hence, studies tend to examine the transition of a centralised form of government to a decentralised one; or an autocracy to a democracy. Whereas it is difficult to pinpoint studies focusing on the organisational level by examining the change in the structure of a governmental department itself by scrutinising the changes in the relationships between different activities and members in the organisation; subdivision and assignment of roles, responsibilities and authority to carry out different tasks. Also, studies tend to emphasise on the content of change (Diefenbach & Klarner, 2008; Wise, 2000), rather than the processes through which organisational change is implemented. As a result, there is hardly any literature that connects the implementation of organisational change to the actual effects or outcomes of change. Because of this, claims about successful change are often unreliable (Pettigrew, 2000; Boyne, 2006).

With this in mind, I have structured the paper into four sections. The first section is the introduction. The second contains the discussion. It briefly describes the organisational structure that existed in the Ministry of Land before and after the change was implemented as well as identifies the reasons that led to the need for change. It also explains the analytical framework that has been applied towards analysing the organisational change. The third section comprises of observations made with respect to the application of the analytical framework in understanding whether the organisational change was successful or not. The fourth section concludes the paper.

2. Discussion

2.1. The Old Structure of the Ministry of Land and the Need for Change

Prior to 2010, Kenya was a unitary state administratively divided into 8 provinces which were further divided into 69 districts. These districts were subdivided into divisions, locations and sub locations resulting into 175 local authorities which included 67 county councils, 43 municipal councils, 62 town councils and 3 city councils (Harbeson, 1971; Devas and Grant, 2003). The Ministry of Land was based in the province of the city of Nairobi administering and managing land throughout Kenya under five different laws; Government Land Act (GLA), Registration of Titles Act (RTA), Registered Land Act (RLA), Indian Transfer of Property Act (ITPA) and the Land Titles Act (LTA). These laws governed the entire land in Kenya (Okoth-Ogendo, 1991; Leo, 1984). The ministry in Nairobi maintained a single registry for transactions done and titles issued under these laws. The registry was the main department of the ministry where all land transactions were processed and approved. The ministry was headed, in order of hierarchy, by the Minister of Land, followed by the Commissioner of Land, then the Registrar and Clerks. The minister approved the rules and regulations for the proper administration and management of land, the Commissioner was responsible for formulating these rules and authorising the issuance of titles whereas the Registrar registered the titles (Wanjala, 1990). The ministry delegated the power to register titles to land outside Nairobi to the local authorities. The local authorities were subordinate to the Commissioner of Land. The Commissioner authorised an Assistant Registrar and a Clerk to head each registry in a local authority and forward the titles to his office for authorisation (Kanyinga, 2005; Leo, 1984).

These local authorities also applied either one or all of the five laws in issuing out title deeds. However, the authorities maintained five separate registries for transactions done under the different laws (Devas and Grant, 2003; Kanyinga 2005; Okoth-Ogendo, 1991). The reason for this is historical. The colonial government had structured the provinces during the colonial era and established specific registries in each province. For example, the Coast province housed the LTA registry, whereas the Rift valley province had the RTA registry set up. After independence, the provinces set up the other registries in order to avoid costs and time spent in having to send documents to the other provinces that housed the different registries for verification and registration (Harbeson, 1971).

This organisational structure resulted in irregular land allocations to several persons under different laws and poor service delivery. Titles would sometimes take a whole year or more to be issued. There were no systems in place to monitor land transactions in the different registries. The registries were not ICT compliant and therefore, information was not available digitally. The registries worked with paper and stored all documents in open shelves with no information computerised (Ndungu Commission Report, 2004). Thus, if X bought land and registered it under the RLA registry, any other person who wanted to purchase the same land and ran a search with the local authority about the availability of the land would be misled if the authority only inquired with the GLA registry for example and not with the RLA registry. Further, information on land transactions and titles issued or under processing would not be shared with the main registry in Nairobi which further exacerbated the problem of multiple title allocations over the same parcel of land. The registries operated in a manner devoid of accountability and transparency. As a result a number of disputes are still pending in the law courts since the 1970s[1]. In order to address the failure by the state to protect property rights, the government sought to overhaul the existing structure and accordingly formulated the National Land Policy (2009) which would guide the organisational change desired (Wiley, 2008).

2.2. The New Structure Following the Organisational Change

In 2010, Kenya transited into a devolved government. The national government no longer enjoys the privilege to exercise total power. This power is also to be exercised by the county governments in the new decentralised form of government. As a result, the 8 provinces have now been divided into 47 counties (Mutua, 2009). The 175 local authorities that existed previously were engulfed under the 47 counties. The Ministry of Land was restructured to the Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development having its main headquarters in Nairobi. Its new organisational structure, in order of hierarchy, is the Minister at the top, followed by the Chief Land Registrar, and officers. Each of the 47 counties have a County Land Registrar exercising the same powers and functions as the Chief Land Registrar. The Minister continues to approve the rules and regulations for the proper administration and management of land, the Chief Land Registrar is responsible for formulating these rules and regulations as well as registering and issuing titles. The County Land Registrars have the function of registering and issuing titles and also verifying the authenticity of land transactions (Land Registration Act, 2012). The office of the Commissioner of Land has been abolished and replaced with the National Land Commission that is vested with the power to monitor the registration of rights and interests in land so as to ensure there are no multiple allocations of title to the same parcel of land (National Land Commission Act 2012, section 5 (2) (b)). Furthermore, all registries have been abolished and each county operates only one registry as opposed to the previous era. The five laws have also been repealed and replaced by the Land Act and the Land Registration Act for uniform application throughout the country.

2.3. Fernandez and Rainey’s (2006) Model as the Analytical Framework

Fernandez and Rainey (2006) have come up with 8 factors that describe the process of implementing successful change within organisations. This paper proceeds on the assumption that each of these factors is a determinant contributing towards successful implementation of change. Hence, the analytical framework upon which this paper is based is made up of the 8 factors which shall each be explored to analyse their impact towards successful or failed organizational change. This framework, therefore, is based on the following factors:

Factor 1 is about ensuring the need. It is the leaders who verify the need for change and persuade staff and stakeholders that change is necessary. Factor 2 concerns the provision of a plan. A new vision must be translated into a strategy with goals. Clear goals and causal thinking between initiatives and outcomes is essential. Factor 3 relates to building internal support for change and to overcome resistance. It is important to develop and nurture support from stakeholders, usually through participation of staff in change processes. Factor 4 is to ensure the support and commitment of top management. An idea champion or coalition can help maintain momentum. Hence, strong leadership is essential. Factor 5 requires the building of external support. Political overseers and external stakeholders must buy-in to the changes, as they can provide resources and strategic direction. Factor 6 is about resources. Change is not cheap. Sufficient organisational resources must be provided. Factor 7 relates to institutionalising change. Staff must incorporate new changes and behaviours into their daily routines. This should be tracked with monitoring and evaluation. Finally, factor 8 concerns pursuing comprehensive change. Leaders must make comprehensive, systemic change in the organisational structure (Fernandez and Rainey, 2006).

2.4. Analysing the Organisational Change in the Context of the Analytical Framework

The analytical framework relied upon in this paper consists of 8 factors that were developed to steer private organisations towards successful change. These factors have been utilised in the next paragraphs to analyse whether they played any role in effecting successful change in the Ministry of Land or whether the steps taken by the government to initiate the change can be understood within the framework of these factors.

Factor 1. Ensure the need

The five different laws relating to land with their specific registries caused not only confusion that led to multiple allocation of titles relating to the same parcel of land but facilitated corrupt practices leading to illegal land allocation and land grabbing by dishonest public servants (Ndungu Commission Report, 2004). The country had also in 2010 transited towards decentralisation, hence there was an urgent need to effect an organisational change in the Ministry of Land in light of this transition. Further, a number of land disputes emerging as a result of multiple allocations of title caused the public and investors to lose confidence in purchasing private property. Also, the Constitution of Kenya that was newly promulgated in 2010 demanded land reforms (Constitution of Kenya 2010, Article 68). As a result, the President aware of this need authorised a task force to formulate a National Land Policy to guide the process of organisational change. All these circumstances clearly point towards the existence of factor 1 as the beginning of the change process.


[1] See generally the Kenya Law database using the keywords “land disputes” under the case search tab.

Excerpt out of 13 pages


Organisational Change. A Case Study of Kenya's Ministry of Land
University of Duisburg-Essen  (Institute of Political Science)
Public Administration in an International Context
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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Organisational change, Kenya, Ministry of Land, Government, Decentralisation
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Laila Abdul Latif (Author), 2015, Organisational Change. A Case Study of Kenya's Ministry of Land, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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