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Lucy W. Gichinga

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya

Prof. Elegwa Mukulu

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya

Samuel Mwachiro

Pwani University, Kenya


Academic staff performance appraisal aims at determining work results and looks at how best to make human resource management decisions, develop staff successfully, guarantee high level of motivation, productivity and competitiveness. Notably performance appraisal as used today in universities lacks formal goals and is not used to make crucial human resource management decisions on matters of pay, training and development needs analysis and benchmarking with other universities. This study sought to establish the extent to which academic staff performance appraisal systems in Kenyan universities are used to gain competitive advantage. The study objectives were to assess the extent to which Kenyan universities use performance appraisal to determine performance related pay, identify training needs and benchmark to achieve competitive advantage and whether organizational culture acts as a moderator in these relationships. It also sought to determine whether public universities were more competitive than private universities. The methodology included descriptive research design. Universities were stratified into public and private. The target population consisted of full time lecturers numbering 1114 drawn from two public and two private universities selected using stratified purposive sampling. Respondents from various schools were then sampled using simple random method. A pilot study was carried out on a sample of 10 lecturers in order to establish the reliability of questionnaires. Data was collected using semi-structured questionnaires and analyzed using statistical analysis generated using the computer application package SPSS version 11.5. Several methods used to analyze data included descriptive statistics, bivariate correlation (spearman’s rho), linear regression and sequential moderated multiple regression analysis. For public universities the findings indicated a linear relationship between training needs analysis,   benchmarking and competitive advantage while no linear relationship existed between performance related pay and competitive advantage. Organizational culture acted as a moderator variable and increased the effect of the relationships in all three independent variables. In private universities there was no linear relationship between performance related pay, training needs analysis and competitive advantage. Organization culture did not increase the effect of the relationships between these two variables and competitive advantage. There was a positive linear relationship between benchmarking and competitive advantage while organizational culture acted as moderator variable in the relationship. Public universities were found to be more competitive than their private counterparts. The study makes the following recommendations, universities could adopt performance related pay to attract and retain best academic staff, ensure talent management, performance based funding, integration of various appraisal techniques to enhance acceptance, adoption of balanced scorecard, and creation of a strong university culture conducive to learning and knowledge management, and involvement of academic staff in decisions affecting them.

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