Impact of knowledge and Netwok ties on the Performance of micro and small Technical Enterprises in Southwestern Nigeria
The study examined the knowledge areas of operators of micro and small technical enterprises (MSTEs) in Southwestern Nigeria and investigated the extents and depth of the operators’ collaborations. It evaluated the influence of operators’ knowledge and network ties on the performance of the enterprises. This was with a view to recommending policy interventions that could lead to significant improvement in the performance of MSTEs. The study covered Technical Entrepreneurs in Lagos, Ekiti, Oyo and Ondo states. Data were collected from primary and secondary sources. Primary data were collected using a set of questionnaire and supported with guided interview. Multi-stage sampling technique was used for the study. Three Local Governments were randomly selected from each of the states. Twenty five micro and small technical enterprises were purposively selected in each Local Government, making a total of three hundred respondents. The questionnaire elicited information on the socio-economic characteristics, knowledge areas, extents and depth of collaboration and the performance of the respondents. Secondary data were sourced from the records of the firms. The data collected were analyzed with the aid of descriptive statistics and inferential statistics. The study revealed that majority of the respondents specialized in wood and wood products (20.9%) and their opening hour was 8 am because the business was their career (79.5%) and most of them had 14 years and above of establishment (firm’s age).Moreover, many of them did not attend technical school (83.5%) but larger percentages of them were apprentice (73.5%). Majority spent 3 years and 3-5 years in technical school and apprentice training respectively. The business-related knowledge areas of the majority (34.9%) and (38.6%) were between low (3-4 knowledge areas) and average (5-6 knowledge areas) respectively. About 88.4% of the respondents had collaboration with people of related business, majority of them had both formal and informal forms of collaboration (73.9%) and strongly agreed with proposed ten benefits of collaborations. Most of the proposed ten benefits of collaborations were significant on the response variables. Comprehensiveness of knowledge areas and forms of collaborations significantly influenced the performance measures; profit (X2=102.101, P= 0.000**), sales volume (X2 = 87.086, P= 0.000**) and staff strength (X2 = 47.313, P = 0.001**). In addition, certain control variables were significant while some were not. The study concludes that improved knowledge of the operators of MSTEs and effective collaboration among them could lead to significant improvement of their performance.