Knowledge Retention Practices and Performance of Public Research Institutions in Kenya


  • Viona Muleke Tharaka University, Kenya
  • Priscah Jepkoech Rongo University, Kenya
  • Tumaini Mutugi Mwikamba Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya



In the dynamically changing environment, knowledge is becoming the most important resource for organisational performance, surpassing other resources such as land and capital. Therefore, retaining organizational knowledge is the key characteristic of sustainable improvement in organisational performance. On the contrary, publicly funded research institutions in Kenya lose experts’ knowledge from retiring employees. Knowledge management in publicly funded research institutions in Kenya seems to be a major challenge contributing to poor service delivery and gaps in work performance. Therefore, based on the Human Capital theory, this study sought to fill the gap by establishing the influence of knowledge retention practices on the performance of publicly funded research institutions in Kenya. The study used stratified random approaches to sample 135 respondents out of 6,799 employees in Kenya's 12 publicly funded research institutions. Both qualitative and quantitative primary and secondary data were collected to achieve the study objectives. While qualitative data was analysed through thematic methods, quantitative data were analysed using both descriptive statistics (mean scores, percentages and standard deviation) and inferential statistics (Multiple Regression Analysis) through the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 24. It was established that adopting knowledge retention practices such as succession planning, use of retirees, mentoring and coaching are associated with a significant positive influence on the performance of publicly funded research institutions in Kenya. Based on the findings, the study recommends the management of public research firms provide regular training and mentoring programs to employees to help them retain knowledge and improve their skills. The organizations can also conduct exit interviews with departing employees as a useful way to capture their knowledge and insights before they leave the organization. This information can then be used to improve knowledge retention and prevent the loss of critical knowledge.

 Keywords: Knowledge Retention Practices, Performance of Public Research Institutions, Kenya


Author Biographies

Viona Muleke, Tharaka University, Kenya

Faculty of Business Studies, Tharaka University, Kenya


Priscah Jepkoech , Rongo University, Kenya

School of Information, Communication and Media Studies, Rongo University, Kenya


Tumaini Mutugi Mwikamba , Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya

Department of Economics, Accounting and Finance, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya



Afridi, O., Gul, S., & Naeem, M. (2019). The Role of Management Practices of Higher Education Institutions in Knowledge Storage and Knowledge Accessibility. Journal of Management and Research, 6(1), 1-29.

Ahammad, M. F., Tarba, S. Y., Liu, Y., & Glaister, K. W. (2016). Knowledge transfer and cross-border acquisition performance: The impact of cultural distance and employee retention. International business review, 25(1), 66-75.

Akoko, A. A. (2020). Government Policies’ Mediating Influence on the Relationship between Knowledge Management Practices (KMPs’) and Sustainability of Sugar Companies in Kenya.

Alhawari, S. & Al-Jarrah, M. (2012). The Impact of knowledge management processes on the improvement of strategic competence: An empirical study in Jordanian insurance companies. International Journal of Trade, Economics and Finance, 3(1), 39- 45.

Amodu, A. A., Okafor, L.Okafor, L. C . & Inyada, S. J. (2014). Knowledge management and organizational performance in Kogi State University: issues and challenges. Standard Global Journal of Business Management, 1.
Arif, M. Khalfan, M. Barnard, J. H. Heller, N. A. A. (2012). Assessing Knowledge Management in construction consultancies: Cases from the UAE. Australasian Journal of Construction Economics and Building, 12 (2), 55–71.

Babin, B. J., & James, K. W. (2010). A brief retrospective and introspective on value. European Business Review, 22(5), 471-478.

Becker, W. C. (1964). Consequences of different kinds of parental discipline. Review of child development research, 1(4), 169-208.

Byukusenge, J., & Munene, J. C. (2017). Knowledge management and organizational performance: A review of literature on the role of knowledge management and how it affects organizational performance. Journal of Economics and Sustainable Development, 8(19), 70-81.

Caroline, K. S., Mugun, B. J., & Loice, M. (2015). Knowledge Storage, Retrieval, and Employee Performance: The Moderating Role of Employee Engagement. International Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship Research, 3(6), 1-13.

Caroline, K. S., Mugun, B. J., & Loice, M. (2015). Knowledge Storage, Retrieval, and Employee Performance: The Moderating Role of Employee Engagement. International Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship Research, 3(6), 1-13.

Chalutz Ben-Gal, H. (2019). An ROI-based review of HR analytics: practical implementation tools. Personnel Review, 48(6), 1429-1448.

Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research design: Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks. USA: SAGE.

Cumari, K. (2018). Tacit and explicit knowledge management and assessment of quality performance of public R&D in emerging economies: An Indian perspective. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 31(1), 188-214.

Dewah, P. (2011). Knowledge Management practices in selected Southern African public broadcasting corporations. (Doctoral Thesis, University of Fort Hare, Fort Hare, Republic of South Africa). Retrieved from

Egeland, A. (2017). Knowledge Management in organizations. A literature review and case study exploring how organizations can transfer and retain knowledge to mitigate knowledge loss when older employees retire (Master’s Thesis, University of Stavanger).

García-Gutiérrez, L., Delgado, M. D., & León, J. (2019). MYC oncogene contributions to release of cell cycle brakes. Genes, 10(3), 244.

Gholami, M. H., Asli, M. N., Nazari-Shirkouhi, S., & Noruzy, A. (2013). Investigating the influence of knowledge management practices on organizational performance: an empirical study. Acta Polytechnica Hungarica, 10(2), 205-216.

Girard, J., & Girard, J. (2015). Defining knowledge management: Toward an applied compendium. Online Journal of Applied Knowledge Management, 3(1), 1-20.

Gnawali, A. (2020). Knowledge Management Practices and Its Impact on Performance of IT Companies in Nepal.

Gupta, A. K. (2021). Innovation dimensions and firm performance synergy in the emerging market: a perspective from dynamic capability theory & signaling theory. Technology in Society, 64, 101512.

Hislop, D. (2016). Knowledge management. In Encyclopedia of human resource management. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.

Ibrahim, S. E., & Ogunyemi, O. (2012). The effect of linkages and information sharing on supply chain and export performance: An empirical study of Egyptian textile manufacturers. Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, 23(4), 441-463.

Inkinen, H. (2016). Review of empirical research on knowledge management practices and firm performance. Journal of knowledge management, 1 (8),67-87

José Chambel, M., & Sobral, F. (2011). Training is an investment with return in temporary workers: A social exchange perspective. Career Development International, 16(2), 161-177.

Katz, B. (2017). Alignment of internal and external business & innovation domains (Doctoral Thesis, Stellenbosch University). Retrieved from:

Katz, D. M. (2012). Quantitative legal prediction-or-how i learned to stop worrying and start preparing for the data-driven future of the legal services industry. Emory LJ, 62, 909.

Katzy, B. R., Bondar, K., & Mason, R. M. (2012, January). Knowledge-based theory of the firm, challenges by social media. In 2012 45th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (pp. 3879-3887). IEEE.

Kithuka, S. M. (2020). Knowledge management practices and performance of Solidaridad Eastern and Central Africa, Kenya. Unpublished master’s dissertation). Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya.

Levallet, N., & Chan, Y. E. (2019). Organizational knowledge retention and knowledge loss. Journal of Knowledge Management, 23(1), 176-199.

Malathi, P. S., & Vanathi, D. (2019). A study of data storage security issues in cloud computing. Bonfr Int J Softw Eng Soft Comput, 9(2), 5-7.

Marginson, S. (2019). Limitations of human capital theory. Studies in Higher Education, 44(2), 287-301.

Mohajan, H. K. (2016). Sharing of tacit knowledge in organizations: a review. American journal of computer science and engineering, 3(2), 6-19. Retrieved from

Mwanzu, A., Wendo, D. R., & Kibet, F. (2021). Knowledge Management for Innovativeness and Sustainable Organizational Development: A Case Study of Selected Corporate Institutions in Kenya. Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal) Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

North, K., & Kumta, G. (2020). Knowledge management: Value creation through organizational learning.

Oztekin, A., Delen, D., Zaim, H., Turkyilmaz, A., & Zaim, S. (2015). The influence of knowledge management on financial and non-financial performance. Journal of Information & Knowledge Management, 14(02), 1550013.

Persky, A. M., & Murphy, K. (2019). Investigating whether transfer of learning in pharmacy students depends more on knowledge storage or accessibility. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 83(6).

Pinky, J. (2014). The structure of prior knowledge (Doctoral thesis, University of Nottingham). Retrieved from

Prieto Pastor, I. M., Perez Santana, M. P., & Martin Sierra, C. (2010). Managing knowledge through human resource practices: empirical examination on the Spanish automotive industry. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 21(13), 2452-2467.

Ramona, T., & Alexandra, B. (2019). Knowledge retention within small and medium sized enterprises. Studies in Business and Economics, 14(3), 231-238.

Riveros, A. M. M., & Tsai, T. S. (2011). Career Commitment Vs Organizational Commitment: A Comparison Between For-Profit and Non-Profit Sectors. In International Conference on Management 2011 Proceeding (pp. 1090-1107).

Santoro, G., Vrontis, D., Thrassou, A., & Dezi, L. (2018). The Internet of Things: Building a knowledge management system for open innovation and knowledge management capacity. Technological forecasting and social change, 136, 347-354.

Sherehiy, B., & Karwowski, W. (2014). The relationship between work organization and workforce agility in small manufacturing enterprises. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 44(3), 466-473.

Sousa, M. J., & Rocha, Á. (2019). Leadership styles and skills developed through game-based learning. Journal of Business Research, 94, 360-366.

Thaul. W. (2014). Supporting learning by tracing personal knowledge formation (Doctoral Thesis, Plymouth University).

Wanjiru, M. (2018). Academic Libraries as Epicentres for Knowledge Mapping and Management in Institutions of Higher Learning.

Zaki, A. H. M., & Soliman, M. (2017). The effect of knowledge management critical success factors on knowledge management effectiveness and performance: An empirical research in Egyptian banking sector. The Business and Management Review, 9(2).




How to Cite

Muleke, V. ., Jepkoech , P., & Mutugi , T. M. . (2023). Knowledge Retention Practices and Performance of Public Research Institutions in Kenya. Journal of Human Resource & Leadership, 7(1), 64–78.