International Business Research Challenges in Africa: Knowledge creation and institutional perspectives

Abdoulkadre Ado, Roseline Wanjiru

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)
    8 Downloads (Pure)


    This study explores the challenges researchers in/on Africa face when conducting research on the continent. It examines the reasons behind Africans’ relatively limited contribution to the business literature in the global sphere and why not culturally sensitive and nuanced research on Africa is spreading unchallenged.

    The study combines knowledge creation and institutional theories to explain why African business scholars struggle in researching the continent and in contributing significantly to global knowledge creation. It also explores the debate about why Africa’s narratives in business seem dominated by not culturally sensitive and nuanced voices and approaches. It uses a participant
    observation method.

    The study found that African scholars have not yet contributed significantly to global knowledge creation because of Africa’s institutional weaknesses and lack of government support for research, coupled with challenges at the interviewing, organizational, and scholars’ levels. The study points to the specificities of the continent as well as to African interviewees’ particularities and the type of interactions with the researchers. The paper proposes new avenues to address those multilevel challenges and offers key lessons for future studies.

    To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to systematically investigate the fundamental reasons behind business research challenges in/on Africa from knowledge creation and institutional standpoints. This study also contributes to the growing debate on Africans’ meagre contribution to business literature as well as the controversy regarding culturally-sensitive vs. not culturally-sensitive knowledge creation on Africa. Finally, it proposes avenues to understanding and overcoming those challenges.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)188-209
    JournalCritical Perspectives on International Business
    Issue number2/3
    Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2018


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