The Effectiveness of Entrepreneurial Networks in the Acquisition of Marketing Information (Mi) Resources: Selected Small Manufacturing Firms in Tanzania
Keywords:business networks, marketing information, small business and social and inter firm networks
Using a sample of 210 small-sized manufacturing enterprises (SSEs) from the two largest commercial cities of Tanzania namely Dar es Salaam and Mwanza, the article examines the roles that structure (density and size), and contents (strength of ties) of inter-firm and social (types) networks play on marketing information acquisition of the SSEs. The two most important types of networks of the inter-firm and the social networks were used in determining which of their properties contribute most to the MI acquisition. Six hypotheses were developed from the properties of density, network size and network ties of the social and inter-firm networks as independent variables and respective marketing information as dependent variables. A much more focused analysis involving multiple regression analyses was used. The findings revealed that the contribution of individual properties from inter-firm and social networks leading to marketing information are different. Only the ‘density’ of networks and ‘strength of ties’ were found to contribute most to the social network based marketing information. The ‘size’ construct had positive but less significant relations with marketing information acquisition. On the other hand it is ‘size’ and ‘density’ of networks that yield most inter-firm based marketing information. The ‘strength of ties’ was found to have a positive effect but statistically less significant to the inter-firm based marketing information. The study recommends significant investment in both inter-firm and social networks. However, when it comes to social networks, density and strength of ties matter most; while in the inter-firm, size and density matter most.