How Organizational Culture as an Enabler of Knowledge Management Systems Influence Sustainable Competitive Advantage amongst Humanitarian Agencies in Kenya

Jack Onyisi, Egara Kabaji, Ken Onkware


This study investigated the influence of Knowledge Management (KM) systems on Sustainable Competitive Advantage (SCA) amongst Humanitarian Agencies-HAs through the use of organizational culture as an enabler of knowledge management. The objective of study was to show how organizational culture affects sustainable competitive advantage in humanitarian agencies- HAs- in Kenya. The study population was 42 HAs with 10,487 employees in Kenya. Both the primary and secondary data were collected using questionnaires, interviews, and observation checklists. The questionnaires were administered by a drop and collect method to ensure high response rates. Employees were stratified into management and junior staff. Purposive sampling was then used to sample management staff in the agencies surveyed and simple random sampling techniques were used to sample employees at the junior level. Statistical tools such as cross-tabulation and frequency tables were used to analyze the data. This study adopted a descriptive research design. The study used resource-based theory of knowledge management for competitive advantage as its theoretical basis. The resource-based view and theory of the firm defines a strategic asset as one that is rare, valuable, imperfectly imitable and non-substitutable. Knowledge is seen as one such strategic asset with the potential to be a source of competitive advantage for an organization. By adopting a resource-based theory of the firm with an extension of a knowledge-based perspective, this study aimed at developing and validating a conceptual model of the relationships between knowledge management enablers and their influence on competitive advantage amongst humanitarian agencies in Kenya. From the study, there is substantial evidence to show that knowledge management has a strong positive influence on sustainable competitive advantage. The results from the 42 agencies surveyed reconfirmed a general agreement found in the literature that culture makes a unique and significant contribution to the sustainable competitive advantage of humanitarian agencies. Finally, recommendations were offered from practical ideas, drawn from experience, and intended for practitioners working with HAs but are also based on the theory behind the knowledge management concept and are just as relevant for consideration by knowledge management and development theorists alike.

Key Words: Knowledge Management, Competitive Advantage, Humanitarian agencies, Culture, Strategy, Organization, Enablers

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5758 ISSN (Online)2224-896X

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