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Entrepreneurial innovations in small and medium-sized hotels: Does industry context play a role?

Ngoasong, Michael Z. and Kimbu, Albert (2017) Entrepreneurial innovations in small and medium-sized hotels: Does industry context play a role? In: International Critical Tourism Studies Conference VII, 25-29 Jun 2017, Mallorca Spain.

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We integrate approaches to the study of contexts in entrepreneurship and innovation to develop and apply a theoretical framework for analyzing how industry context influence entrepreneurial innovations in small and medium-sized hotels (SMSHs). Industry context includes the sectors, structures and stakeholder groups that constitute an industry, all of which affects the scope for entrepreneurial entry, the nature of entrepreneurial innovations (new products, services, methods or organization), and the strategies that owners/managers adopt to sequence their market entry choices and post-entry decisions (Garud, Gehman & Giuliani, 2014). The framework argues that industry context can both be an asset (opportunities) and a liability (challenges and risks) (Welter 2011) to entrepreneurial innovations by SMSHs in resource-scarce emerging destinations, such as those in Africa.

Empirically, our research setting is African economies, where it has been suggested that within the hospitality and tourism (H&T) industry, the competitive power of multinational hotel chains threatens the long-term survival of SMSHs (Mohammad, 2016; Sharma & Upneja, 2005), with implications for tourism development (Kimbu & Ngoasong, 2013). Empirical data was collected through in-depth qualitative interviews with owners and/or managers of six SMSHs in Kenya (02), Cameroon (02) and Ghana (02). The data was complemented by participant observation (authors stayed in each hotel for five days, using restaurants and facilities, holding informal discussions with staff and visitors) and informal interviews with senior representatives of related industry associations and government ministries. The selection of SMSHs was based on three criteria: 1) independent (i.e. not belonging to a hotel chain), 2) legal status as a limited company, and 3) having less than 120 rooms (e.g. Ahmad, 2015; Chaves et al., 2012; Sharma & Upneja, 2005). The data was content-analyzed to uncover the comparative dimensions of the H&T industry context across the three countries and the associated contextual influences on SMSHs, with a focus on entrepreneurial innovation.

The findings reveal the circumstances under which the H&T context can be an asset and/or a liability for entrepreneurs seeking to create new SMSHs and for established owner-managers seeking new methods of organizing and sustaining the operations of their SMSHs. The findings are further presented in a revised theoretical framework that can be applicable to other resource-scare destinations. The practical and policy implications for developing the H&T industry in ways that provide incentives for the development of SMSHs are critically examined. For example, understanding whether the dimensions of industry context serve as an asset or liability is critical to making decisions about when to create a new SMSH and how to identify and respond to changes in the industry that can affect the survival and success of an existing SMSH. Limitations include small sample size (two hotels from three African countries); however, the wide variance in the managerial experiences and the age, size and scope of operations of the hotels is significant for cross-case analysis and theory development.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Conference Abstract)
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Hospitality and Tourism Management
Authors :
Ngoasong, Michael Z.
Date : 29 June 2017
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2017 The authors.
Uncontrolled Keywords : Industry context; Entrepreneurial innovations; Small and medium-sized hotels (SMSHs)
Additional Information : Recommended citation: Ngoasong, Michael Z.; Kimbu, Albert; and Adeola, Ogechi (2017) "Entrepreneurial Innovations in Small and Medium-Sized Hotels: Does Industry Context Play a Role?," Critical Tourism Studies Proceedings: Vol. 2017 , Article 44. Available at:
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 14 Nov 2017 14:02
Last Modified : 16 Jan 2019 19:04

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