Date of Conferral







Pamm Kemp


AbstractOnly 20% of Nigerian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) survive 5 years. The specific management problem was that SME leaders were faced with strategic sensemaking challenges in dealing with external stakeholders while growing their businesses. The purpose of this qualitative descriptive phenomenological study was to understand the strategic sensemaking lived experiences of eight SME entrepreneurs for growing their businesses. The conceptual framework grounding this study was embedded in the four sensemaking leadership functions, strategic decisions-making, dynamics of business environments, and performance. The research question asked what is the strategic sensemaking lived experiences of entrepreneurs in SME entrepreneurship ecosystem while growing their businesses. Using the modified Van Kaam’s analytical framework, the study revealed appreciable but uncoordinated entrepreneurial strategic sensemaking, inadequate interventions, and uneven regulations as the main inhibitions to SME growth in the entrepreneurship ecosystem. SMEs were found to thrive better when institutional interventions and regulatory frameworks ensured the market and the price were right. Thus, Nigerian entrepreneurs appear to require training, improved institutional interventions, and regulations to allow their strategic sensemaking lead to business growth. The study might improve leadership, impact positively on how individuals and groups conduct socio-economic activities, and hence promote positive social change.