In Service for Sharing: Leadership and Leader – Follower Relationship Factors as Influencers of Tacit Knowledge Sharing in the IT Industry

Tacit knowledge is an organizational resource that is difficult to cultivate. It requires that responsible agents in the organization take an active role in encouraging trust and the development of relationships where individuals feel that their voice will be heard and that there will be a benefit from them passing knowledge onto someone else. In knowledge work tacit knowledge is especially important.
This research found that servant leadership is an important factor in influencing tacit knowledge sharing, however leader-member exchange is a factor that will strongly support the sharing of tacit knowledge.
If there is a dearth in servant leadership, then leader-member exchange quality is able to act as an influencer of tacit knowledge sharing. This indicates the conclusion that while servant leadership has its virtues, it is possible that other leadership constructs will be useful in encouraging tacit knowledge sharing.

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Analysis of Economic Liberalization and Telecommunication Sector Performance in Nigeria

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In this paper, we examined the empirical relationship between economic liberalization and telecommunication sector performance in Nigeria between 1986 and 2010 using the Stock and Watson (1993) Dynamic Ordinary Least Square (DOLS) technique. The study utilized secondary data and they were sourced from Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Statistical Bulletin and World Development Indicator (WDI) Database.
The study found that a positive and significant relationship exists between telecommunication sector performance which is proxied by employee per telecommunication subscribers and the parameter of the dummy variable for economic liberalization (LIDUM) (t= 4.6400, p-value<0.01) and competition in the telecommunication market (t-value = 2.7889, p<0.05). The study concluded that economic liberalization enhanced performance of telecommunication sector positively.

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Initiating nascent entrepreneurial activities

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Volume 21, Issue 1, Page 27-49, March 2015.

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the direct effect of two individual-level resources, one subjective and the other objective, and their interaction in influencing the business entry decision. By distinguishing perceived ability from actual ability and using theoretical underpinnings from the human capital theory and self-efficacy theory, the proposed hypotheses are tested on a data set comprising respondents from the adult population. Design/methodology/approach – Using 20,046 observations from the adult population survey (APS) collected according to the global entrepreneurship monitor (GEM) methodology, a logistic regression analysis controlling for robust interaction term is used to determine the direct and interaction effect of perceived entrepreneurial ability and actual ability in influencing the decision to initiate nascent entrepreneurial activities. Findings – The results reveal that perceived entrepreneurial ability has a distinct positive influence on the decision to initiate entrepreneurial activities and its impact is greater than that of actual abilities. Furthermore, the authors find evidence of a positive interaction effect suggesting that perceived entrepreneurial ability is a key determinant of entrepreneurial initiatives among those with high actual ability. Originality/value – The main contribution of the study is to highlight the role of subjective judgements of ability in influencing entrepreneurial behaviour. Whereas prior research has found that actual ability influences new venture performance, its influence on new business entry was inconclusive. By including perceived entrepreneurial ability to the model the authors not only establish a link between objective (observable) abilities and subjective (unobservable) abilities of individuals but also suggest the mechanism through which subjective ability perception drive the business entry decisions of individuals.
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Necsa develops new process to produce a key modern industrial gas

The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) is expanding its technology portfolio of speciality gases. (Necsa subsidiary Pelchem has long been renowned for its production of fluorochemicals, including gases and acids.) Not only is the group adding production capabilities for a new product but, perhaps even more importantly, it has developed a new way to produce it, which also increases the purity of the product, while reducing costs.
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How Was mBanking Successfully Embraced in Bangladesh?

mBanking

Bringing mBanking to Bangladesh has had many bumps along the road. Before introducing mBanking to Bangladesh, 87% of the population didn’t have a bank account even though many individuals were subscribed to a mobile device. These statistics represented a huge untapped market for commercial banks.

Several years back, establishing bank branches across rural area was not an easy option because of the costs and regulatory constraints the central bank (Bangladesh Bank) only granted maximum of 15 new branch-opening licenses each year.

To address the issue, the country inaugurated mBanking services in 2011. Dutch Bangla Bank Limited (DBBL) and “BRAC Bank Limited” (bKash), enabled millions of banked and unbanked people for different financial services. To get this service individuals had to dial a number for specific service provider (ex: *247# or *322#) from a mobile device, and then they would get different service options on to their mobile screen. By selecting preferable options people could then easily access those services.

There was no need to have an Internet connection to register the mobile number with national ID & user photo to any service provider agent. Within a short amount of time mass amounts of people used this service because it was fast, reliable, and easy to access.

Now in 2015, 19 banks provide mBanking services. Several banks including DBBL, Bangladesh Islamic Bank Ltd, Mercantile Bank Ltd., and BRAC Bank Ltd. has already made strategic alliances with different international money exchanger organizations for receiving remittance from foreign countries.

Existing mBanking Service 

Today a total of 10 banks in Bangladesh are licensed to provide mBanking service, and eight banks have already launched their services. From 2011-2013 there were 442,269 mBanking accounts opened with 9,093 appointed agents. And total value of transactions up to June 2014 has been an astounding $11 billion.

What does modern mBanking service in Bangladesh offer? The services include:

  • Air-Time Top Up – By this service any mobile user can recharge their balance for calls or SMS. To get the service they have to dial specific service provider numbers, select an operator, mention a mobile number, and take several other steps. Within a minute the individual will receive their required balance.
  • Utility & Institutional Payments – People can pay their utility bill or other bills by this service. In addition parents can also pay their children’s school or university tuition fees, and the schools will just charge the individuals an additional fee.
  • Fund Transfer and International Remittance – People can also transfer money from their mobile account to another mobile, but obviously the user has to have sufficient balance in their own mobile account.

Conclusion

Some conventional users don’t felt that they should use it, and they are happy to continue using a traditional banking system. But in a marketing perspective, we can say that those who did not open a mBanking account yet are still potential customers for the future.

mBanking started with the idea to bring the unbanked people under the umbrella of the online banking sector, especially for rural areas as there are not enough physical banking facilities. And this project of doing so has been rather successful. Since Mobile Banking is a new technology in Bangladesh, it needs promotional activities and greater awareness to inform potential customers.

In addition, to make mBanking service sustainable, I’d advise the following:

  • Revise the service charge for facilities
  • All the facilities should be in native language (Bangla) as well as in English
  • Identify rural areas where telecom network is yet not sufficient
  • Introduce a service monitoring team
  • Establish a separate call centre for questions
  • Create a more efficient ICT policy for all banks

Mobile banking has gradually made life easier in Bangladesh, and not only for people in urban areas, but especially those in rural areas. It is a growing service people are learning to trust in over time, and I’m excited to see what the future has to offer.

Written by Mehdi Hasan, a Monbukagakusho Scholar who earned his Master of Science in ICT4D at the Kobe Institute of Computing in Japan. He is a former Software Engineer for BRAC and a former IT Specialist for ICT Policy Evaluation at WHO. You can reach him by email here.


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The legitimacy of entrepreneurial mentoring

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Volume 21, Issue 2, April 2015.

Purpose This paper presents findings from longitudinal case studies of small firm mentoring relationships in Ireland. Our rationale is to explore the gaps between the theory and practice of small firm mentoring. Design/methodology/approach The paper uses a comparative case study design involving interviews, observation and secondary sources of evidence including business plans. Findings In contrast to the literature the paper extends the role of mentors in the small firm context as offering direct and indirect support, which reduces uncertainty in order to increase legitimacy of the business entity. Research limitations/implications The cases highlight a conflict between the broad theoretical scope of the mentor process versus a narrow role assumed by best practice. Practical implications The research presents an opportunity to enhance the pragmatic versus paternalistic perspective of small firm mentoring. We argue that for mentoring theory to be useful then a mentor’s role set in small firms may be wider and should be more direct than mentors in large corporations. Originality/value The emergent theoretical framework combines organisational learning and decision-making theories. The paper contributes to the theoretical development of mentoring by extending the range and defining the role of mentors in the context of small firms.
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Is Constant Reinvention the Key to Success?: An interview with Lloyd Shefsky about Invent, Reinvent, Thrive

In business, past achievements in no way guarantee future success. Enduring companies—and even individual entrepreneurs—earn their longevity through near constant reinvention. Lloyd Shefsky, a clinical professor of managerial economics and decision sciences at the Kellogg School, as well as the founder and co-director of the Center for Family Enterprise, takes on this topic in his new book, Invent, Reinvent, Thrive.

Lloyd sat down with Kellogg Insight to discuss how entrepreneurs, companies, and especially family businesses can thrive in today’s market. (This interview has been edited for length and clarity. For a longer version of our conversation, check out the accompanying podcast. You can also read an excerpt from the book—about Larry Levy’s reinvention from real estate mogul to stadium caterer—here.)

Kellogg Insight: In your book you interview a number of CEOs and entrepreneurs about how they’ve reinvented themselves and their companies. What made you decide a book like this was necessary?

Lloyd Shefsky: I’ve spent the last 20 years trying to find out what it is that makes some people succeed and some people not succeed, both in entrepreneurship and family business. What really triggered the book was watching clients who succeeded because they reinvented themselves—first of all, to become entrepreneurs, but then they reinvented their business periodically. The length of time between reinventions varied—by business, by individual—but they were all doing it. And so I decided to go out and interview people and find out if reinvention is real.

KI: What are some examples of reinventions that can help illustrate their importance?

Shefsky: The most famous example would probably be Howard Schultz. Howard Schultz never ran a restaurant, never made coffee for a living. He had lived in Europe and understood what coffee houses in Europe were about. But he had a lot of trouble explaining it.

Now, he’s a great salesman, but he could not sell people on investing in Starbucks. He was, as he jokes, “trying to convince the American public—who were used to bad coffee—that they should pay a fortune to get some kind of different coffee that they’d never tasted in a paper cup and be happy.”

But that wasn’t what he was selling at all. I think he was selling membership in a club. I think the fact that you get a Doppio—you don’t get a double espresso—was like the secret code words we used as kids when we had a club. It was a place “where everybody knows your name.” It was the atmosphere, and the concept of going somewhere else, that made it successful.

The second part of Starbucks’ reinvention began in 2008 when the world was going to hell. Starbucks volume and profits went down. People thought, “In this recession, nobody will be able to afford to buy expensive coffee.” And simultaneously, of course, Dunkin Donuts, McDonald’s, and everyone else were saying, “We’re just as good as they are and we’re cheap.” So he had a massive problem. Howard went out and did an analysis. All he had to do was say, “Well, the whole world is saying it’s a price problem. Fix the price and I’ve got a solution.” Instead he went out and went from store to store, and what he realized was that the essence of Starbucks had changed.

And the change came down to something so simple: In order to get more efficient flow-through of product, they bought a new kind of coffeemaker that did three things: it eliminated the noise, it eliminated the aroma, and it was tall, so it blocked the customer’s view of the barista. It was no longer a place “where everybody knows your name”—you couldn’t even see the person. By changing those three experiential things he resurrected Starbucks. That’s a reinvention that’s going back to what you were, not going to something new.

KI: A large portion of your book focuses on family businesses, an area in which you have particular expertise. What’s special about these family businesses? What unique challenges do family businesses face when it comes to this reinvention?

Shefsky: So, every business that reinvents has a set of goals and a methodology for whatever their reinvention it is. Every family that reinvents also has a set of goals and a methodology. They’re rarely the same. It’s like playing chess versus playing three-dimensional chess: You have this overlay of emotional rules over a very scientific or logical set of business rules, and the likelihood that both sets of rules are going to blend easily is pretty remote. And the statistics are awful. Ninety percent of family businesses will not make it successfully into the third generation.

So let’s assume Grandpa starts a business and hands it on to Mom, who builds the business tremendously. And now we come to the third generation. The expectation has to be that someone in that third generation, at a rather young age, is going to have the ability to run a business so extensive that Mom and Grandpa probably couldn’t even run it today. These expectations are pretty artificial. What are the odds that the third generation is going to go out into the industry and learn on somebody else’s dime and then come back and run the company? It takes an extraordinary talent to be able to do that.

The alternative is that the family can hire a professional. Well, then you get into a whole set of other complications. Often family businesses just can’t tolerate that outsider coming in.

KI: What do you want readers to take away from your book?

Shefsky: The first thing is, reinvention is really critical. Yes, it takes confidence. Yes, it takes guts. Yes, it takes skill. But you really have to figure out how you’re going to reinvent.

A lot of people are afraid to reinvent because of naysayers. Some say ignoring the naysayers is the answer. I don’t think that is the answer. You just have to become smarter about the product or the service or the business so that you know what part of the naysaying to ignore and what part to take as a warning.

I’d also say, recognize that even the best success stories you can imagine miss things and mess up things. So that’s another kind of reinvention: After you mess up how do you reinvent it to put it back together?

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