ADEKU, Salihu Ohiani (Ph.D)
Sustainable collaboration, emotional dynamics and innovation capabilities as accelerators of international entrepreneurship for the Nigerian small and medium enterprises
Small and medium-scaled enterprises (SMEs) in Africa are still struggling to be globally competitive. The recent report on fortune 500 shows that no African corporation has been able to meet up or cross the bar, while Walmart, an American multinational retail corporation and a publicly operated family-owned business is leading the 500 corporations globally. It is an established fact that no organization can possess all the resources for it to be competitive, therefore, the need for collaboration because it is one of the factors that could aid international entrepreneurship. However, it seems that the Nigerian SMEs have not given adequate attention to the reason why they need to leverage on the opportunities that are embedded in collaboration to enhance their innovativeness towards achieving global competitiveness and jobs creation. Consequently, majority of them tend to be engaging in their business operations from ‘start to finish’ without considering how to drive their business activities with the mindset of achieving sustainable value chain. In addition, some of the Nigerian SMEs that engage in partnership have not adequately considered emotional dynamics in some of their collaborative efforts through which they can jointly utilize opportunities that come with international entrepreneurship. All these factors inspired the researcher to examine the influence of emotional dynamics on the relationship between sustainable collaboration and innovation capabilities of SMEs in Nigeria to accelerate international entrepreneurship.
A mixed method was employed and the study was majorly anchored on relational capital theory, network theory, and effectuation theory to empirically establish causal relationship and effect among independent, mediating, and dependent variables. Five exportable SMEs sectors were selected (Fintech, agri-business, information technology, telecoms, and health). To overcome the challenges associated with Covid-19 protocols, a Google form survey questionnaire was designed using snowball sampling method to reach out to SMEs owners and operators while interview schedules were organized for the participants via Zoom meetings. The results showed that: non-inter-firm collaboration has more contribution to the innovation capability of SMEs in Nigeria, and emotional dynamics has a mediating effect. Sustainable collaboration and innovation capabilities have joint effect on international entrepreneurship while age of firm was not found having significant influence. However, the findings from qualitative through interview revealed that institutional environment has a major influence on international entrepreneurship of SMEs in Nigeria.
The study has its limitation despite the milestone. Crafting the title of the study was a big challenge for the researcher at the initial stage, but this was made possible with the help of Prof Sunday Adebisi who was the supervisor. Instrument validity was challenging because it took almost three weeks each with the two supervisors (Prof Sunday Adebisi and Dr. S.E. Ifere) before the researcher started the administration of the questionnaire and setting up zoom for interviews. By and large, the process was interesting because it allowed me to improve on art of writing research, data gathering and application of more sophisticated statistical tools, opportunity to interact with experts and scholars in the areas of international entrepreneurship, emotional dynamics, collaboration, and innovation capabilities. The study was eventually selected to compete for the best PhD thesis in humanity but unfortunately, could not win the award. However, the quality of the work that made it to be selected is incontestable, and that is the more reason why the researcher is aiming towards post-doctoral program in the future for the purpose of broadening the research skills and experience acquired during the study.