• Influence of social capital on inter-firm knowledge transfer: a qualitative study of small and medium scale enterprises in Nigeria

      Akunna, Victor Osita (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-01)
      This thesis explores the influence of social capital on knowledge transfer among Nigerian Small Medium scale Enterprises’ (SME) managers. It aimed to address a number of important gaps recognized in the literature, particularly because there is limited research in this area as regards developing countries in disparity to developed countries. Specifically, the study attempts to shed light on how Nigerian SME managers perceive social capital, how social capital develops in Nigerian SMEs, how Nigerian SME managers transfer knowledge among each other and how social capital influences knowledge transfer within the context of Nigerian SMEs. Extant literature has focused more on how social capital influences knowledge transfer within the context of multinational corporations in developed economies with limited focus on SMEs and specifically, SME managers in developing ones. This study contributes to addressing this critical gap in literature by adopting an SME perspective to exploring how social capital influences knowledge transfer among Nigerian SME managers. A qualitative research method is adopted, involving semi-structured interviews of 26 Nigerian SME managers in Nigeria. Thematic analysis has been conducted using NVivo to identify relevant themes and subthemes in relation to the focus of the study. A conceptual framework was developed to illustrate how Nigerian SME managers develop social capital by leveraging on building synergy, attending business events, deliberately targeting proven knowledge sources, developing passionate personality, leveraging on shared values, volunteering and referrals. However, for SME managers to develop social capital, they must initiate interaction, position themselves to be seen and find ways to network. This conceptual framework not only highlights how Nigerian SME managers perceive social capital, it went further to highlight the different social capital triggers from the perspective of Nigerian SME managers. 5 Overall, this study reveals that weak ties can also access tacit knowledge transfer, if the knowledge seeker leverages on referrals which provide the privileges of strong ties. Moreover, this study found that tacit knowledge can be transferred in a large network with weak ties when the nature of the discussion is intense. This happens among SME managers in large WhatsApp groups, where SME managers barely know each other.