Date of Conferral







Daphne Halkias


Management literature lacks a deeper understanding of barriers to Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) leadership among women entrepreneurs in Nigeria focusing on women leaders' daily business experiences, their agency, and their entrepreneurial context. Women in Nigeria seeking promotion to leadership roles in SMEs continue to look for answers on how to surmount the multiple barriers hampering their leadership aspirations. To address this need, this study was designed to explore how women entrepreneurs in Nigeria describe barriers to SME leadership through narratives about their daily business experiences, their agency, and their entrepreneurial context. The women's entrepreneurial development in Nigeria, the Nigerian women's entrepreneurial leadership style, and the agentic behavior of women leaders provided the conceptual framework for this work. A qualitative narrative inquiry method was adopted, and data were gathered through face-to-face semistructured interviews. The participants were a purposeful sample of 10 Nigerian women entrepreneurial leaders over the age of 30. The transcribed interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis. Five thematic categories emerged and were used to answer the research question. Study findings showed that Nigerian women entrepreneurial leaders face challenges due to family, gender, and patriarchal attitudes of the culture. The study shows the experiences, challenges, and triumphs of these courageous and resilient Nigerian women entrepreneurial leaders. Positive social change implications include providing training, mentoring programs, and information to guide, empower, and equip upcoming women entrepreneurial leaders to avert challenges in the future.