Employee perception of the competitive advantage of corporate values: A case for the Barclays Bank of Kenya Limited
Muema, Julius Caesar M
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In the past, markets were characterized by durable products, stable consumer needs, well defined national and regional markets and clearly identifiable competitors. Competition was a "war of position" in clearly defined product or market segments. The key to competitive advantage was the market the company chose to compete in. How it chose to compete in these markets was of secondary importance. However, over the years, the business environment has evolved into one characterized by increasingly stiff competition, adversely changing econ-political patterns, globalization, and increased stakeholder awareness and, hence, expectations. These factors have helped shape the way businesses compete within the markets they choose to operate in. As such, a number of companies have set out their vision, mission, and values in a succinct statement that makes reference to quality, customer service, employee issues and good corporate citizenship (social responsibility). These corporate values are intended to set out the guiding principles of the company. This study.endeavored to establish whether companies put these values into practice, and whether they have an impact on the companies' competitiveness, as perceived by their employees. To address these objectives, a survey was undertaken using a structured questionnaire focusing specifically on the employees of the Barclays Bank of Kenya Ltd. The questionnaire was administered using the drop-and-pick-later method. The study findings showed that, according to the employees, the bank had corporate values that were influenced by and revolved around customers, the employees, the company, and the community. They perceived these values as important sources sustainable competitive advantage. The major limitations to this study were those inherent in the use of questionnaires as data collection tools, mainly, the misinterpretation of questions by the respondents. Further research may be conducted to determine the perception of other stakeholders such as the bank's customers, competitors, shareholders and the general public.