Study on Gapco Kenya Limited on the role of human resources in creating a competitive advantage
Wamwangi, Catherine Muthoni
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Without 'belief in people' no organization can outsmart competition, and develop a competitive advantage that ensures its market competitiveness. Demonstrating genuine belief in people takes more than oratory to do. Organizations of today should develop integrated systems that combine selection of the best fit, job-matching, continuous skills and competencies development, fair compensation, democratic leadership style, and creating attractive motivating work environments. The aim of this study was to assess the role of human resource in creating a competitive advantage at Gulf Africa Petroleum Corporation Limited (GAPCO Kenya Limited). The objectives of the study were to: establish the strategic human resource practices adopted by GAPCO Kenya to improve its competitive position; establish if human resource is a critical resource for creating a competitive advantage at GAPCO Kenya; and find out how GAPCO Kenya has utilized its human resources to improve its competitive advantage. To achieve this, the study adopted an exploratory census survey which involved all the employees. Out of the fifty eight employees targeted, thirty five responded by filling questionnaires and returning. Primary data was collected using both closed and open ended questionnaires which were self administered. Data was analyzed by use of computer software - SPSS (Statistical Program for Social Scientists). Descriptive statistics such as percentages and frequency distributions were used to analyze the data. T-test was used to test the hypotheses of the study. All the hypotheses were accepted as the data analyzed revealed that the ability of the organization to achieve a competitive advantage was impaired due to the failure of the organization to recognize its human resources as the most important and valuable asset. The study concluded that GAPCO Kenya has not used human resource to attain competitive advantage despite numerous previous studies showing strong relationship between human resource and competitive advantage. It is possible for GAPCO Kenya to attain competitive advantage by continuously investing in good human resources practices that met the needs of employees who will in tum ensure that the company's objectives are met. In order to attract the best people in the industry GAPCO Kenya has to pay special attention to creating a people oriented culture that promotes fairness, empowerment and commitment to achieving the organizations strategic intent. The results ofthe study will be useful to similar companies operating in Kenya.