Technology Based Strategies and Competitiveness of Selected Multinational Tea Companies In Kericho and Bomet Counties, Kenya
Bor, Dornah Cherono
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Multinational Corporations are an important part of the economic development in the world with Kenya benefiting from such corporations as they form a larger part of the foreign exchange earner and also provide employment to its populace. They play a very important role in our lives hence boosting the whole world economy in very significant ways, but there is always a problem of competitiveness because of cost, productivity, safety and production levels. Multinational Corporations are not just regular organizations as they are involved in a range of activities from extraction of raw materials to processing and in most cases, technology-based production process. The latter is where the current world is so much focused on as it turns out to involve technological advancements. However expensive it is, most companies are engaging in it as the edge out in the competition. Multinational firms send a package of capital, technology, managerial talent, and marketing to carry out production in foreign countries and their production is authentic worldwide. The current study investigated the effect of technology-based strategies on competitiveness of Multinational Tea Companies in Kericho and Bomet Counties, Kenya. The specific objectives were to analyze the effect of planting, tea harvesting, cutting and input application strategies on competitiveness. The study is therefore important to all the managers as it gives insights in understanding how the specific implemented strategies affects the business in terms of performance and gives direction on how to maintain its optimum firm competitiveness. The Study used three theories; Labor Theory of Value, Resource Based Theory and The Balanced Scorecard Model. The study targeted the management staff, supervisors and support staff, totaling 135. The study used purposive sampling technique to select companies that have technology based strategies. Simple random sampling techniques were used within the strata to achieve the sample size. The study used questionnaires to collect data from the respondents. To ensure validity of the questionnaire, the researcher used face validity and content validity and the reliability of the research instruments was computed using Cronbach‟s alpha coefficient of internal consistency. The quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics generated with the aid of Statistical Software of Social Sciences (SPSS) and the qualitative data was analyzed using content analysis. Graphs, charts, and tables were used to present data. The study found out that mechanical planting has improved productivity of workers, and enhanced plant survival due to standardized plant handling. Mechanical harvesting strategies have enabled the organizations to cut down on production costs and remain in operation while improving employee earnings. The findings showed that cutting strategies allowed the companies to reduce employee exposure to danger hence reducing safety incidences, while saving on labour costs. In conclusion, though expensive, input application strategies are more preferred by companies as they are more efficient and productive ways that improve plant survival and crop yields. The study concluded that adoption of mechanized operational strategies is highly recommended as they play a positive role in production efficiency and resource utilization hence placing the companies in the competitive edge of the market. The researcher recommends introduction of government policies protecting mechanization in agricultural multinationals and welfare of the communities they operate in, clear manpower-machinery replacement policies for new technologies and a further research study to analyze the effect of government restrictions on competitiveness of the MNCs.