Competitive strategies, organizational autonomy, positioning and performance of Kenyan state corporations
Firms operate within an environment that influences their operations either positively or negatively depending on the nature of their business. Identification of specific competitive strategies in tandem with particular organizational autonomy and positioning strategies may explain variations in organizational performance. The main objective of this study was to determine the role of organizational autonomy and positioning on the relationship between competitive strategies and performance of Kenyan State Corporations. This study was guided by positivist philosophy. The positivist school of thought is based on the assumption that only one reality exists, though it can only be known imperfectly due to human limitations and researchers can only discover this reality within the realm of probability. The study adopted a descriptive cross-sectional census survey on a population of 187 Kenyan State Corporations across the public sector. The study used primary data collected by questionnaires administered to the Chief Executive Officers of the State Corporations. The study also used secondary data on performance collected from annual performance contract reports for State Corporations for the five performance contracting cycles between 2009 and 2014 from the Department of Performance Contracting in the Ministry of Planning and Devolution. The results indicated that competitive strategies had statistically significant effects on the performance of Kenyan state corporations. The results further indicated that though positioning is an important strategy, it did not mediate between competitive strategies and performance of the Kenyan state corporations but organizational autonomy moderated between competitive strategies and the Kenyan state corporations. The combined effect of the three predictor variables was greater than the individual influence of each predictor variable on the performance of Kenyan state corporations. The stakeholder‘s theory has gained substantial boost from the study because Kenyan State Corporations are formed to benefit the stakeholders who in this case are Kenyan citizens. Further, RBV theory has benefited from the findings that, the principle should dedicate enough resources for the State Corporations to achieve their obligations. Structural contingency theory benefits from the study because it is clear that performance is determined by environment and that autonomy, positioning and competitive strategies deal with technology, people and work cultures. Strategic conflict model has been supported by the study because some corporations share the same environments and strategies but the outcomes are different because rational thinking is influenced by time and managers‘ decisions. Agency Theory is supported by the fact that the concept of agency loss is the difference between the best possible outcome for the principle and the consequences of the acts of the agent. At policy level, the Government will benefit from the study by developing guidelines and policies to define the required competitive strategies. Management will benefit from this study because they could use it to formulate internal organizational processes that would guide the positioning of the organization. Performance was tested as a composite score as reported by the Performance Contracting Department. It would be interesting if the individual competitive strategies dimensions were tested against the raw score of each of the six performance areas in the performance contracts. Since the context of the study was Kenyan State Corporations future research could be undertaken to replicate this to compare performance of Kenyan State Corporations with that of public quoted companies at the Securities Exchange or other sectors of the economy to check whether the findings would be the same. Further, a similar study could be replicated but in a different context, such as a private companies in Kenya using the same variables.