Performance of small businesses in Tangier: the perceptual role of location

Sefiani, Yassine, Davies, Barry J ORCID: 0000-0002-5198-2046 and Bown, Robin ORCID: 0000-0001-7793-108X (2022) Performance of small businesses in Tangier: the perceptual role of location. African Journal of Economic and Management Studies, 13 (3). pp. 418-433. doi:10.1108/AJEMS-02-2021-0086

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This study seeks to investigate perceptions of the role of location on the performance of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Tangier, as understood by local owner-managers. To explore perceptions of the performance/location relationship for SMEs in Tangier, 20 in-depth online semi-structured interviews were conducted with selected owner-managers of SMEs. The judgement sample was selected to explore their experiences, beliefs and attitudes with respect to their performance and location. Findings of the study revealed that “location” is a salient factor that, in the minds of respondents, materially influences the performance of SMEs in Tangier. Location was mentioned extensively in the interviews, in relation to the “free zones”. Findings showed that firms located within the free zones enjoyed favourable economic conditions, in particular those related to taxation and competition, compared to their counterparts located outside the free zones, which were excluded from these benefits. Furthermore, perceived unfair competition (financial and fiscal incentives in the free zones) damages the performance of the SMEs in Tangier. These findings suggest that the placement of the business in relation to the free zones and in respondents' perception thus became an important financial and emotionally significant perspective on equality in relation to success. The findings of the study could encourage the government to adopt policies that will assist indigenous firms to benefit from advantages that are comparable to those that are available to those in the free zones. Greater attention to the perceptual effects of location would be advantageous. However, the exploratory nature of the study means that results cannot necessarily be generalised beyond the setting in which the data were collected. Future research should examine the impact of location for SMEs in a broader sample of countries. This study is among those few studies located in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region that explore the performance of SMEs from the perceptions of owner-managers themselves and not based on aggregate or economic data. It supports previous findings of several studies and contributes additional evidence that suggests the significance of levelling the playing field and its impact on SME performance in the contemporary African business context.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Location; Performance; Level playing field; SMEs; Africa; Tangier
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD2340.8 Small and Medium-sized businesses, artisans, handcrafts, trades
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Applied Business & Technology
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 26 May 2022 13:17
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2023 08:36

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