INFLUENCE OF STRATEGIC COLLABORATIONS ON THE COMPETITIVENESS OF PRIVATE COLLEGES IN NAKURU TOWN
KONGA, GIVANS KIPROTICH
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Collaboration is currently one of the key elements of institutional competitiveness. In the face of continuous world economic changes, competition allows many institutions to improve and accelerate their collaboration processes. Universities as traditional sources of knowledge might be involved in such kind of collaboration. The increasing demand related with education of the population has led to the entry of a large number of private players in the education sector. This has also resulted to the development of competition among the private colleges or private universities for attracting good students as well as high revenue. Private colleges and private universities are also trying to adopt competitive intelligence in their action plan to get recognition as well as value for their college or university. The aim of this study was to establish the Influence of Strategic Collaborations on the Competitiveness of Private Colleges in Nakuru town. More specifically, the study sought to determine the influence of strategic financial allocation, explore the influence of strategic expansion, and assess the influence of strategic alliances on competitiveness of private colleges in Nakuru town. The study was grounded upon the Theory of Evaluation, Resource Based View Theory and the Resource Dependence Theory. This study adopted descriptive design. The target Population of the study consisted of six colleges. The study, being census, was conducted at Nairobi Aviation College, Tec Institute, Nakuru College of health sciences, Tracom College, Kenya Institute of Professional Counseling and Professional Studies and Lake Nakuru Hotel and Tourism Management College. Senior College management heads were targeted. Data collection instruments incorporated questionnaires, mainly structured in a 5-point Likert scale which were distributed to respondents through “drop and pick later” method. The researcher assessed the reliability and validity of data collection instruments with experts and through piloting. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Pearson correlation coefficient and regression coefficients, after entering the raw data into the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS). The research findings indicated that strategic financial allocation, strategic expansion and strategic alliances could explain 50.7% of the variations in the dependent variable which is strategic collaborations on the competitiveness of private colleges in Nakuru town. Regression of coefficients results showed that strategic financial allocation and competitiveness were positively and significantly related (r=0.281, p=0.000), strategic expansion and competitiveness were positively and significantly related (r=0.186, p=0.000) and finally strategic alliances and competitiveness were positively and significantly related (r=0.313, p=0.000). The study may be of benefit and significant in enabling new private colleges determine whether university-college collaborations are a necessary strategy as a diversification strategy. At the end competitive advantage achieved by colleges or universities can be considered ethically and legally correct if it is beneficial for the students, parents and the society. The study recommends due attention on collaborative activities between the universities and colleges be sensitized since they can contribute to the success of future joint curriculum development project. Further research could also be undertaken between universities and industry context to understand the mechanisms by which universities transfer Research & Development knowledge in order to increase industry competitiveness and efficiency as well as overall economic and social development.