Building sustainable competitive advantage in the mobile telephony industry in Kenya
Increased globalization and liberalization has increased turbulence in the environmental changes experienced by firms today presenting greater need to establish sustainable competitive advantage if they are to remain in business. To succeed in achieving sustainable competitive advantage firms must provide what buyers will perceive to be of superior value. Availability of many players provides customers with an array of options to choose from and therefore to capture their interest, it entails either a good quality product at a low price or a better quality product that is worth a premium price. While it is easy to gain sustainable competitive advantage, the challenge is sustaining market leadership. The objectives of the study were to determine the basis of sustainable competitive advantage in the mobile telephony industry and to analyze factors influencing sustainable competitive advantage in the mobile telephony industry. The study adopted the survey research design picking eight departmental heads from each company comprising a target population of 32 respondents. The research employed a semi structured questionnaire to collect primary data which was administered through the drop and pick method. Descriptive statistics and content analysis were used to analyse the data. From the findings the study concludes that internal sources of competitive advantage are more important and relevant than the external sources. Knowledge is increasingly becoming a major source of competitive advantage as it is valuable rare, non-substitutable and imperfectly imitable. While the development of human resources is critical, it is the creation of a learning organisation to enhance the sharing and spread of knowledge among all employees rather than letting it reside in the heads of a few who could easily take it away and perhaps move over to competition. Functional capabilities such as finance, production, procurement, product or customer support, low cost or high volume production, strong marketing strategy, management team and operations and service quality can easily be decoded and acquired by competitors in the open market unlike the hard to decode distinctive competencies.