Factors Influencing Achievement of Competitive Advantage by the Savings and Credit Coperative Societies in Kenya. (A Case of 2NK Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations)
Competitive advantage refers to the value a firm is able to create for its buyers that exceeds the firm's cost of creating it. Like any other business organizations SACCOs need to create value for their clients in order to gain competitive advantage and thus ensure survival and profitability. The study sought to analyze the factors influencing the achievement of competitive edge by SACCOs in Kenya. This was be done by focusing on 2NK SACCO; which falls under the public transport sector and which has been performing relatively well despite the stiff competition among other SACCOs in the sector. The study will sought to establish the effect of stakeholder management on the creation of competitive advantage, evaluate the effect of firm's propensity to innovations and changes on creation of competitive advantage and to establish the influence of organizational culture on creation of competitive advantage. The "study adopted a descriptive research design and targeted a population of 17 management staff and employees of 2NK SACCO, 280 matatu owners and 560 matatu crew members. Stratified sampling was applied to select 10.74% of the population to be used for the study. Three types of research instruments were used for to collect data; questionnaires, interview schedules and document analysis. The questionnaires were administered to 2NK SACCO office attendants, matatu crew and the vehicle owners. Interview schedule were used in collecting data from the senior management staff of 2NK SACCO branches while document analysis was conducted in the 2NK SACCO offices by scrutinizing the documents in the various 2NK offices in Nairobi, Karatina and Nyeri where quantitative information about the performance and the growth of the SACCO in a membership and services offered. The study being descriptive used descriptive analytical methods which included percentages and correlation analysis. To enhance clarity, the results were presented in tables, charts and graphs. The rest of the data gathered through interview and document analysis was found to be instrumental in facilitating drawing of conclusions and recommendations as well as clarifying issues not adequately addressed by the questionnaires. The study found that, first, the correlation between stakeholder management and ability to create competitive edge was positive and significant indicating that effective stakeholder management enables the SACCO to create a competitive edge. Secondly, it the correlation between innovations and ability to create competitive edge was weakly positive and not significant indicating that the ability to come up with and adopt new innovations enables the SACCO to create a competitive edge although to a small extent. Finally, the correlation between nature of organization culture and ability to create competitive edge was positive and significant indicating that effective organization culture enables the SACCO to create a competitive edge. Based on the research findings, the study recommends that, the SACCOs and other business organizations should adopt sound systems of stakeholder management which should include stakeholder analysis, analysis and evaluation of various stakeholder interests and attempt to balance them. This will create win- win situations for all the stakeholders thereby encouraging their contribution and support of the activities of the organizations. Consequently, this will increase the quantity of resources available to the organization and thus create a competitive advantage against the competitors. In addition, the organizations should build their capacity to come up with sound innovations and also embrace up to date methods of production. Consequently, this will lower their cost of operation as well as opening of other revenue streams and thus bar new entrants into the industry and boost their market share. Finally, organizations need to cultivate and subscribe to effective organization culture through formulation of core values, guiding principles, standards of operations as well as subscription to best practices of operation.