Major Drivers to Innovation in Higher Education Institutions of Developing Countries


  • Alfred Hove Mazorodze University of South Africa
  • Peter Mkhize University of South Africa



Knowledge Management, Information Technology, Innovation, Competitive Advantage, Higher Education Institutions, Communities of Practice


In both developed and developing countries, innovation in higher education improves decision-making capabilities and contributes to institutional growth. Similarly, all higher education institutions naturally store and access knowledge in some manner and these institutions are expected to be at the cutting edge of such innovation. To this date, institutional recognition determines if a higher education institution meets or surpasses the minimum standards of quality education across the globe. Knowledge-sharing builds collective knowledge, retains knowledge and increases innovation capabilities. Higher education institutions in developing countries should be comparable to their counterparts in developed countries. The study therefore explores the key drivers to innovation in higher education institutions of developing countries using a survey strategy. The study collected different views from academics on the core drivers to innovation. An adequate sample of 240 participants was carefully chosen from 4 state universities in Zimbabwe, a developing country in Africa, with a 66.6% response rate. The research participants were actively involved in higher education functions of teaching, learning and research. After performing reliability tests on the data collection instruments, the researcher performed a descriptive analysis to measure the effect of the drivers towards the much needed innovation in higher education institutions. The empirical findings confirm that the most important driver for innovation in higher education institutions is Knowledge Management, followed by technological advances, competitive advantage and globalisation. It was established that technology is an enabler to higher education functions and is now embedded into teaching, learning and research. This educational transformation empowers academics with technical skills. The adoption of Knowledge Management practices supported by up-to-date technology will certainly improve the capabilities of these institutions. Because knowledge cannot be imitated by institutions to gain a competitive advantage, properly investing in Knowledge Management should certainly strengthen an institution into more competitiveness. The study therefore recommends the adoption of Knowledge Management practices for all higher education institutions in developing countries.

Author Biography

Peter Mkhize, University of South Africa

Peter Mkhize is a Professor in the Information Systems Department at the University of South Africa's School of Computing