The impact of networking on innovation: the case of SMEs in the pharmaceutical sector in the Middle East and Africa

Al-Khatib, A., 2022. The impact of networking on innovation: the case of SMEs in the pharmaceutical sector in the Middle East and Africa. DBA, Nottingham Trent University.

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This research aims to study the impact of networking on innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the pharmaceutical sector in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region. It particularly examines the role of networking in addressing the challenges confronting SMEs working on enhancing their innovative capabilities. Data for analysis was generated from case studies and through qualitative interviews involving 30 participants in five SMEs considered as high performers in the pharmaceutical sector in three different countries in the MEA region. This research identifies organisational and structural limitations, innovation laws and regulations, organisational culture, and economies of scale as the main challenges hindering innovation in SMEs in the pharmaceutical sector. It also indicates that the most critical factors of innovation are human factors, financial capabilities, and governmental support. This research suggests that if political will and risk-taking exist then available and abundant financial resources in some MEA countries can be directed to initiate and support pharmaceutical innovation. Moreover, the research confirms that networking can be an effective strategy for overcoming innovation challenges but underpins informal networks; one common form of networking in the pharmaceutical industry in the MEA, to play a crucial role in supporting innovative capabilities. These informal networks are influential within the pharmaceutical industry communities in the MEA region because they are highly regarded as trusted and effective sources of consultations for critical business decisions. Such informal networks are characterised by being a blend of professional and personal relationships where innovative ideas are freely, transparently, and openly discussed in a manner that depicts what can be considered the MEA’s version of Open Innovation (OI). This research contributes to the literature on innovation and networking by highlighting the institutional, social, and cultural dynamics at play in SMEs in the pharmaceutical sector in the MEA and by showcasing the distinction of innovation due to contextual factors, norms, and values. The research reflects on these findings by introducing a model that comprises two levels of linked and dependent networks, blending formal and informal networks, and synchronising their contributions in a single coherent framework to drive innovation. This indicates that regional, social, and cultural aspects prove to be sources of establishing new networking norms that can serve innovation on a larger geographical scale.

Item Type: Thesis
Description: Abridged version
Creators: Al-Khatib, A.
Date: September 2022
Rights: The copyright in this work is held by the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the author.
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 24 May 2023 10:16
Last Modified: 24 May 2023 10:16

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