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IMPLEMENTATION OF COMPETITIVE STRATEGIES BY G4S SECURITY SERVICES (K) LTD

Strategy is an essential part of any effective organization. By using an effective competitive
strategy, a company finds its industry niche and learns about its customers (Porter, 1980).
Porter (1985) asserts there are basic businesses strategies – differentiation, cost leadership,
and focus – and a company performs best by choosing one strategy on which to concentrate.
However, many researchers feel a combination of these strategies may offer a company the
best chance to achieve a competitive advantage (Cross, 1999; Karnani, 1984; Miller and
Friesen, 1986; White, 1986; Hill, 1988; Mathur, 1988; Murray, 1988; Miller, 1992; Dess and
Miller, 1993; Johnson and Scholes, 1993; Fuerer and Chaharbaghi, 1997; Hlavacka et al.,
2001). Whatever strategy a business chooses, it must fit with the company and its goals and
objectives to gain a competitive advantage (Kippenberger, 1996; Surowiecki, 1999; Parker
and Helms, 1992; Ross, 1999). This paper investigated the implementation of competitive
strategies by G4S (K) Ltd.
The paper consequently aims to address the following research question: “What competitive
strategies are implemented by G4S Security Services within the Kenyan security industry?”
A case study was undertaken focusing on the management of G4s (K) Ltd. The study utilized
interviews to collect primary data from twenty two (22) mangers, however, only sixteen (16)
of the respondents were interviewed. The data was then analyzed using an inductive
approach through content analysis and the findings presented using tables giving descriptive
statistics including frequencies, mean and percentages.
The Research findings illustrated that G4S (K) Ltd. adopted focus strategy as the main
generic competitive strategy accompanied by mergers and acquisitions as part of its corporate
strategy to gain and maintain a competitive advantage in the Kenyan security industry.
Findings also illustrated that 100% of the respondents’ were positive that the organization
was facing challenges in the implementation of competitive strategies. These challenges were
identified as including: inadequate management of linkages within the organization's value
chain and to linkages into the supply and distribution chains and competition within the
organization's industry; Reduced attractiveness and profitability of the industry, the degree of
ix
rivalry between existing competitors, the threat of substitutes and the threat of entry of new
competitors (new entrants); insufficient budgetary allocation to finance acquisitions due to
fear by management as they were of the view that there is a low return on investment (ROI);
change management (staff involvement, attrition, motivation, culture change and
reorganization); competition and dynamics in the business environment; leadership issues
where there is a conflict between the manager’s goals and objectives with those of the
organization as well as a high turnover rate in the leadership; poor planning and poor strategy
execution; and low investment in a competent, skilled and knowledgeable human resource.
Consequently, the researcher recommended that G4S Security Services (K) Ltd should
continue pursuing the focus strategy as a competitive strategy but should include
outsourcing, strategic alliances and joint ventures as part of their corporate strategies with an
aim of offering leverage to the focus strategy. As regards challenges faced in the
implementation of competitive strategies by G4S Security Services (K) Ltd the researcher
recommended that the organization develops adequate management of linkages within the
organization's value chain and linkages into the supply and distribution chains and
competition within the organization's industry. Focus on specific differentiated product lines
that can ensure profitability as well as enter into strategic alliances aimed at reducing the
degree of rivalry between existing competitors. Management should also allocate more funds
to finance acquisitions and marketing strategies aimed at steering the organization as a
market leader through focus and differentiation. Strategic change management should be
implemented to address leadership issues, poor planning and poor strategy execution and low
investment in a competent, skilled and knowledgeable human resource.

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