Original Research

Empirical analysis of inbound open innovation and SMEs performance: Evidence from oil and gas industry

Yusuf O. Akinwale
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 21, No 1 | a1608 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v21i1.1608 | © 2018 Yusuf O. Akinwale | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 May 2016 | Published: 27 March 2018

About the author(s)

Yusuf O. Akinwale, School of Economics, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, North-West University, South Africa


Background: This article contributes to existing literature by examining the relationship between inbound open innovation and firms’ financial performance in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.


Aim: This article seeks to identify the factors of inbound open innovation and whether these factors influence the financial performance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.


Setting: This article examines 150 indigenous oil and gas SMEs in the upstream subsector of the Nigerian petroleum sector through a survey, using a questionnaire, conducted in 2015.


Methods: The study applied the structural equation modelling (SEM) method. This method is used to test the relationships between the factors and to calculate the measurement errors in the hypotheses formulated.


Results: The results show that technology scouting, vertical technology collaboration (VTC) and horizontal technology collaboration (HTC) positively and significantly contribute to inbound open innovation, which are thus significant in influencing the financial performance of SMEs. The size of technical staff and research and development (R&D) fund allocations also have a positive and significant correlation with the SMEs’ financial performance. Meanwhile, the age of SMEs is negative and not significant in influencing financial performance.


Conclusion: The results suggest that inbound open innovation through scouting, HTC and VTC should therefore be encouraged among SMEs to boost their internal capabilities, which have hitherto enhanced their financial performance. The management members of each SME should continually consider collaboration with the external actors because they cannot singularly possess all the innovative skills required in the industry. Also, each firm should commit itself to allocate more funds to R&D and at the same time should hire those who have relevant production skills and train the existing ones in their firms.


open innovation; structural equation modelling; small and medium enterprises; performance; Nigeria; oil and gas industry


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