Factors influencing performance of infomal business partnerships among the Somali community in Kenya: the case of selected businesses in Mombasa County
Bashir, Hassan M
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Kenyans often discuss how Somalis conduct businesses yet their background is that of Nomadic lifestyle. Somali owned businesses have been steadily increasing in the last two decades spreading across many countries in many sectors of the economy mainly through informal group ventures (informal partnerships). During such debates the arguments advanced are not based on findings from any authoritative source. This means, there is lack of understanding in the way the Somali community members conduct business visa avis other ethnic communities in the Country. The overall research problem addressed in this study was, despite an increase in the number of successful operations of informal business partnership among the Somali community in Kenya, little or no study has been done to analyze the factors that bond their partnerships which do not follow the formal conventional partnership modes. The study background and the exceptional character of informal Somali business partnerships that has not been revealed by previous research and existing theories have been presented in chapter 1. The researcher has reviewed literature dealing with global partnership concepts in general terms, compared formal and informal businesses partnerships identifying their classifications, examined their fundamental principles and objectives of the partners. Literature reviewed was summarised and important aspects highlighted in chapter two. The study was confined to Mombasa central business district and within 7km radius of its environs using an exploratory research approach. The study sample comprised of 50 partnership businesses selected from a target population of 100 Informal Partnerships using a proportionally nonprobability purposive participants as an adequate representative sample (Kerlinger, 1986) and (Mugenda,2003). Questionnaires, observations and interviews were used to collect primary data from the sample respondents which were considered reliable and valid data collection instruments as explained in chapter three, the methodology. Findings from the qualitative data were analyzed using measures of descriptive statistics and summarized in form of tables with discussions in chapter four. Discussions on the results, summary of the findings, conclusions and recommendations have been drawn in chapter five. The findings bring out important information about; Informal Somali business partnership operations and bridge a knowledge gap in Somali business culture that existed before the research. Key among these findings are that; Somali-owned businesses have kinship links that cut across industry and spatial boundaries. The study revealed that Somalis are different from other community groups in that their keen sense of business acumen differentiates them in terms of who they are and how they live. Social ties playa prominent role in their business patterns, living styles and identity. Somalis have carved a unique space for work and have made a valuable contribution to the local economy all whilst and preserving their ethnic and religious identity. Community and cultural values greatly influence Somali business operations and most of their business partnerships are based on gentlemen or handshake agreement. The study reveals the culture of the Somali's insistence on following religious practices and paying special attention to partner personality trait, source of capital and arbitration methods has led them to a unique entrepreneurial practice.