Enhancing Competitive Intelligence Innovation


for Competitive Performance of SMEs in Nigeria



By Uzoma Francis Amaeshi, PhD

Professor (Mrs.) Ihuoma P. Asiabaka


Dr. Uju. Callista Okoye, PhD

Department of Management Technology
Federal University of Technology, Owerri

Imo State, Nigeria


Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are seen as bedrock for economic growth and development. The objective of this paper is to investigate how competitive intelligence enhances innovation performance in the context of (SMEs). The purpose of this exploratory study is to investigate the contribution of absorptive capacity competitive intelligence and performance in Enterprises. Competitive advantage is measured by cost reduction and market expansion. Our findings allowed us to propose a framework showing the contribution of competitive intelligence innovation performance relying on absorptive competitive intelligence; highlighting that a prospector owner-manager can improve the results of competitive intelligence in the SMEs and contribute to better innovation performance. The managers were selected using the non-probabilistic method of convenience. Primary source of data collection was deployed (questionnaire) and reliability was done using Crombach Alpha with a reliability statistic of .899. Descriptive statistics (mean) and inferential statistics (regression analysis) at 5% level of significance was adopted for data analysis and test of the hypothesis respectively. This research work examines and conducted the findings revealed that competitive intelligence has significant positive effect on cost reduction and marked expansion of SMEs in Nigeria. The study concludes that SMEs seeking to reduce their cost and expand their market should adopt competitive intelligence strategies towards the enhancement of their competitive advantage.

KEYWORDS Intelligence, innovation, competitive performance, SME


1.1. Background of the study

In dynamic and complex environments, it can be difficult for Small, Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to achieve business performance, innovate and survive, even though these actions are crucial competitive intelligence for economic growth and competitiveness. Competitive intelligence appears as a strategic practice to help them. Although many theoretical study the relationship between competitive intelligence and innovation, few studies have conducted empirical studies in the context of SMEs.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are considered the primary source in creating jobs and economic wealth Ahire, Landeros and Golhar, (2006), employing more than 95% of the world’s working population Akinc, and Roodman, (2006). In Nigeria, SMEs account for 99.7% of total firms in terms of population and contribute about 54% of Nigeria’s GDP. Despite the importance of SMEs in economic growth, significant obstacles impede their sustainability, leading in most cases to failure.

The main objective of competitive intelligence is to provide an alert for external turbulence events that may have an impact on the economy’s strategy and performance (Chen et al, 2019). The main environmental turbulence includes market, technologies, competitors’ intensity (Choi et al, 2008; Chopra et al, 2020). Many studies have shown that SMEs prefer to monitor sources in their immediate environment. This environment consists of customers, competitors, suppliers as well as technologies. Competitive intelligence is essential for business because it only provides a solid foundation for innovation process but because its absence can also be considered a barrier or even a factor in the failure of innovation (Feichtinger, (2001); Ebrahimpour, (2003); Garwe et al, (2010); Horng et al, (2010); (Derijcke et al, (2010); (David et al, (2011); (Filippini et al, (2016); (Cornick et al, 2016); (Dingus et al, (2017); (Chow et al, (2020)).

To overcome challenges and survive, SMEs need to improve their innovation performance (Amoako-Gyampah, K. and Meredith, J.R. (2005). Innovation requires research and development (R&D) (Anderson, Cleveland, and Schroeder, (2011), which is a determinant of innovation (Aviv, 2003). However, most SMEs do not have sufficient competitive intelligence resources to invest in R&D (Bailetti, & Tanev, S. 2008). Moreover, they are not qualified to benefit from government assistance programs for R&D. They are, more than ever, compelled to exploit external information Ballou, (2003); Battain et al, (2013) by adopting environmental analysis activities such as competitive intelligence Beheshti, (2020). Competitive intelligence allows companies to gather information from customers, suppliers, competitors; technologies thus build a strong foundation for the innovation process (Bendoly et al, (2014); Booker et al, (2014)).


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How to cite this paper: Amaeshi, U.F., Asiabaka, I.P., Okoye, U.C. (2021). Enhancing Competitive Intelligence Innovation for Competitive Performance of SMEs in Nigeria; PM World Journal, Vol. X, Issue VIII, August. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/pmwj108-Aug2021-Amaeshi-et-al-enhancing-competitive-intelligence-for-SMEs-in-Nigeria.pdf

About the Authors

Amaeshi Uzoma Francis Amaeshi, PhD

Federal University of Technology
Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria


 Uzoma Francis Amaeshi is Associate Professor in the department of Management Technology, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, and Imo State, Nigeria. His doctoral work at the University of Nigeria Nsukka in Management is in areas of research interest that include Human Resources Management, Organizational Development and Entrepreneurship cum Banking & Finance. He has presented papers in several conferences within leading career development organizations in Nigeria. He developed and maintained successful working relationships with excellent communication skills with internal and external staff and looks forward to securing a position in academics where he can bring immediate and strategic value and develop a current skill set further. Associate Professor Amaeshi can be contacted at uzor1958@gmail.com.


Professor (Mrs.) Asiabaka

Federal University of Technology
Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria


Professor (Mrs.) Asiabaka is a manager to the core in the School of Management Technology, (SMAT), FUTO. She taught severally and supervised several undergraduate and postgraduate students in Imo State University, Owerri and Federal University of Technology, Owerri. She held many administrative positions including serving as the Director of the Institute of Women, Gender and Development Studies, FUTO. She served as a resource person for the Millennium Development Goals, Teachers Retraining Program and served in several University Committees.  She participated in several national and international conferences and training workshops and published in several peer reviewed national and international journals; contributed several chapters in books and co-authored three books. Her research efforts have contributed in the continuous improvement of organizations. She served as Member and Chairman of Local Organizing Committees for national and international conferences and workshops and will continue to mentor young academics. She is a fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management and the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Gender and Development Issues. A position she held for six consecutive years. Professor (Mrs.) Asiabaka can be reached on ipasiabaka@gmail.com; ihuoma.asiabaka@futo.ed.ng.


Dr Ujunwa Callista Okoye (PhD)

Federal University of Technology
Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria


Dr Ujunwa Callista Okoye is a lecturer II at Federal University of Technology, Owerri, and Imo State, Nigeria with seven years of experience in lecturing. She holds a Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Business Administration from Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria. Dr Ujunwa has undertaken intellectual researches on strategic management and entrepreneurship. She has been involved in national policy making and strategic planning exercises since 2020, thus, she is a member of Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN-Presidency, Abuja) Technical Working (Committee) Group (TWGS) for the Development of Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) 2021-2025, MTNDP 2025- 2030 and the Nigeria Agenda 2050. Okoye Uju. Callista can be contacted at zarahelenone@gmail.com