A meta-data-analysis of knowledge creation pattern of small businesses in Africa: Exploring the past to predict the future


  • Ronke Adesina University of Zululand
  • Dennis Ocholla University of Zululand




Knowledge creation, knowledge management, small businesses, Africa, Rayyan, socialisation, proximity, mistake acceptance, interactions


Small businesses continue to be highly supportive of global economies, particularly in emerging nations. It is projected that by 2050, Africa might face a rapid rate of urbanisation in the world, which poses a significant development challenge, requiring innovative and African-led solutions. However, African countries, with institutional weaknesses and inadequate government support, are yet to harness the rich potentials of small businesses, particularly due to inadequate knowledge-creation strategies. The study adopted a postpositivist meta-data analysis approach and study interrogated past research findings from other scientific research to gain a more integrative understanding of what has been discovered about the knowledge creation (KC) pattern of African small businesses. However, the study revealed a very insufficient number of studies that explored the KC processes of African small businesses but found best practices of multi-sectoral oragnisations from different countries that African small businesses can learn from. We identified that most of the KC activities revolve around both formal and social interactions, such as dialoguing, reflections, storytelling, and collaborative activities. Additionally, we note, among others, the role of the culture of mistake acceptance and proximity that removes social, organisational, and institutional distances. The following recommendations were made: the empirical testing of the application of the KC theory of small businesses, particularly in Africa, should be done; more studies should be done on KC processes of organisations so that best practices can be shared; there is a need for small businesses to be systematic in their approach to KC; and knowledge officers should be engaged to ensure the effectiveness of knowledge-creation initiatives in small businesses.