An Exploration of Influences of the Growth of Small Firms in Libya

Hajjaji, Iman Salem Ali (2012) An Exploration of Influences of the Growth of Small Firms in Libya. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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The development of small businesses and the increasing role they are playing as engines of economic growth, employment generation and social change is making them a subject of major strategic importance to governments, and growing interest to researchers. Small businesses are increasingly regarded as both indicators of the economic dynamism of an economy, and agents of economic growth: in the developing economies small businesses are also regarded as being capable of improving standards in areas such as training. technical expertise and management throughout an economy. Of particular concern in many economies, especially those such as Libya which are in transition to a free-market model, is the contribution small businesses can make to employment growth outside of the public sector. The broad aim of the research discussed here was to enhance understanding of the factors influencing the growth of Libyan small manufacturing firms from the perspective of owner-managers and to develop an explanatory conceptual framework that aids this understanding. As secondary aims, it also seeks to inform government policy and to contribute to the success and growth of the sector overall. Informed by a comprehensive literature review, the research approach was to investigate and interpret the opinions, experience, attitudes and ideas of a sample of owner-managers with respect to the factors that they considered to be of the greatest influence on the growth of small manufacturing firms. Because of the lack of prior research, the study was exploratory in nature and a qualitative methodology was employed, employing a grounded approach with qualitative content analysis, Following a pilot study, the researcher conducted twenty-eight semi-structured interviews with the owner-managers of small manufacturing businesses: the sample consisted of owner-managers located in two Libyan cities, Tripoli and Misurata. Tripoli is Libya's capital, economic centre and overwhelmingly the area with most manufacturing output, while Misurata is the second largest manufacturing centre and the focus of much investment in infrastructure by the Libyan state.The interviews were designed to explore four sets of factors that may influence the growth of small manufacturing firms in Libya: the characteristics of the owner manager, the characteristics of the firm, the business's strategy and factors in the external environment. The interviews generated a substantial amount of rich data and this was interpreted and analysed on a cross-case basis and the findings were organised according to these four sets of factors. The research produced a range of interesting findings, many of which confirmed those of other studies in developed countries, such as the importance of ownermanager growth aspirations, education, experience and networks, the firm's age and location and aspects of its strategy such as marketing, innovation and training. Other findings retlected relatively widespread issues in developing economies, such as shortages of skills and finance, infrastructural inadequacies, bureaucracy and corruption. However, the research also highlighted a number of issues that are specific to Libya, or whose impact is different or more extreme because of the combination of political, economic and socia-cultural circumstances. It is concluded that Libya's combination of a bloated public sector with widespread corruption, slow transition from a socialist economy, frequent changes in economic policy, large informal sector, weak legal enforcement and predominance of family and personal relationships has created a particularly challenging environment for small businesses. As the research demonstrates, some owner-managers have found ways to overcome these problems and achieve high levels of growth but many others find their growth severely constrained by these environmental issues. The research is exploratory in nature and many of the issues discussed merit further research, in particular to inform future policy and support. Key areas for future research are outlined and tentative recommendations are made for future government policy with respect to the Libyan small firm sector. Note: the fieldwork for this thesis was carried out prior to the popular uprising in Libya, which began in February 20 II and resulted in a change of government. References to government policy throughout the thesis refer to the previous government, with the exception of the policy recommendations in Chapter 6, which refer to the new government of Libya.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: Libya, Small Businesses, Libyan Economy, Free Market Economy, State Controlled Economy,
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2015 15:23
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 09:44

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