Original Research

Fostering viability and sustainability of small and medium enterprises: Determining the true beneficiaries of university research output

Gwendoline V. Nani
Acta Commercii | Vol 18, No 1 | a531 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v18i1.531 | © 2018 Gwendoline V. Nani | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 July 2017 | Published: 27 September 2018

About the author(s)

Gwendoline V. Nani, Department of Business Management, University of South Africa, South Africa


Orientation: The focus of this study was dissemination of university research output to small and medium enterprises.

Research purpose: This study sought to determine the true beneficiaries of research output.

Motivation of the study: Situations occur where research was conducted, but the purported beneficiaries did not receive feedback.

Research design, approach and method: A case survey approach involving 80 lecturers from the Faculty of Commerce of one public university in Zimbabwe was utilised. Semi-structured questionnaires were used to elicit responses from academic researchers. Analysis of quantitative data was done through frequencies, percentages, cross tabulations and Pearson chi-square tests. Qualitative data were analysed thematically.

Main findings: The findings revealed that only 36.92% had conducted studies on small and medium enterprises (SMEs), while the remaining 63.08% had conducted other studies not related to SMEs. Out of the 36.92% of the respondents who had conducted studies on SMEs, 41.67% had not disseminated their results to the targeted beneficiaries. The study concluded that dissemination of research output for practical use seemed not to be a priority for some academic researchers. Non-distribution of results by academics indicated underlying challenges.

Practical/managerial implications: The study recommended that researchers should be reminded of the importance of conveying their findings for practical use and responsible authorities should encourage the dissemination of research output through the provision of incentives and support systems.

Contribution/value-add: The study identified a dearth of research on who benefits if research studies are conducted on SMEs but the results are not disseminated to them and thus attempted to address this gap.


beneficiaries; disseminate; practical use; operations; SMEs


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