Competitive Strategies Adopted By Airtel Kenya
A firm’s competitive positioning is an important topic for practitioners, theorists, and policy makers. The framework that guides competitive positioning decisions is called competitive strategy. The purpose of a firm’s competitive strategy is to build a sustainable competitive advantage over its competitors. Competitive strategy defines the fundamental decisions that guide the organization’s marketing, financial management and operating strategies. Competitive strategy researchers seek to answer three fundamental questions: (a) what constitutes an effective strategy’s (b) how are strategies implemented in an organization, and (c) how can a strategy’s effectiveness be evaluated? Three corresponding themes, namely, strategy formulation, execution or implementation, and evaluation or control, are prevalent throughout the competitive strategy literature. Competitive strategy often results in an organization adopting strategic change in the way it conducts its business. Strategic change can improve an organization’s ability to adapt to its environment by forcing healthy changes within the business. Organizations that maintain strategic consistence over time may become stagnant, limiting the creativity and potential contributions of their human resources. However, even when strategic change results in a successful new product or services, no assurance exists that the success is sustainable. Competitors may imitate the firm, manipulate consumer perceptions, and reap the benefits of the initial strategic change. Kenya’s mobile network operator industry has great potential for growth because of its previous low penetration levels in both fixed and mobile markets. In the last ten years the industry has undergone significant changes, with the incumbent operator Telkom Kenya losing its monopoly in the fixed-line and internationals band width sectors. Licenses were issued to a regional carrier, third mobile operator and several new data carriers, thereby marking a significant change in the competitive landscape for mobile network operator services across the country. The last five years has seen rapid growth due to new players entering the market, the introduction of 3G services by the telcom operators and, very recently, duty being waived on new mobile handsets and the allowance of number portability. The objective of this study was to identify and understand the competitive strategies adopted by Airtel Kenya which is the second largest mobile network operator in Kenya. In order to achieve the objective of the study, a case study research design was adopted. An interview guide used to facilitate data collection advantage over its rivals. The data obtained during interviews guided by the interview guide was analyzed qualitatively using content analysis. The study established that the organizations competitive strategies that gave it a competitive advantage over its rivals were those it implemented in its physical infrastructure, technology, market research, innovation and manpower development.