Dissertation: Not a place for a faint-hearted? - Project marketing in Nigeria made easy

Uutisen oletuskuva
Isau Ganiyu’s dissertation focuses on the turbulence going on in Nigeria and the project marketers’ perception of the uncertainty and its management.
Ganiyu studied managers of Nordic firms who market projects in turbulent Nigerian environment. The turbulence includes corruption, the threat of Boko Haram and kidnappings.
Korruptiota, kidnappauksia ja Boko Haramin uhka? Väitöskirjan mukaan projektimarkkinoija tarvitsee Nigeriassa hyvää maatietämystä. Turvallisuuspalveluiden ja tiettyjen alueiden välttäminen auttaa. Kuva: World Bank

It is a general understanding that firms now begin to focus their attention on the African markets because of the tales of rich rewards it offers. But to make it big in Africa, a business must first succeed in Nigeria, the continent’s largest market. It has been said that “If it works in Nigeria, you can do it anywhere”.

– Even though Nigeria is not a place for the faint-hearted, still it is better to be there than not be there, says Ganiyu who will defend his doctoral dissertation at the University of Vaasa.

Nigeria is a country characterized by uncertainty and risks and firms must know how to manage and avoid the risks.

How to cope in Nigeria?

Isau Ganiyu studied managers of Nordic firms who market projects in the turbulent Nigerian environment.

The subject of the research was the perception of the uncertainty by the marketers, and the sensemaking of how to manage the risks thereof.

The research provided interesting findings that are important to would-be Finnish or Nordic project marketing companies to Nigeria.

– The project marketers need the knowledge of the geography to be able to differentiate where to go and where not to go, says Ganiyu.

He reminds that the threats of Boko Haram terror attacks and kidnappings have become prominent in the turbulent Nigerian environment but are only restricted to certain parts of Nigeria.

– The companies adapt to the turbulence by subscribing to security information from security agencies to assist them in their movements, and actually procuring security protections for safe movements, avoiding the turbulent areas and restricted their project marketing to the safe regions, explains Ganiyu.

The Nordic companies were able to cope with the turbulence because they have localized operations as a way of blending to the environment, gaining and utilizing local knowledge called local capability.

– Companies can acquire this local capability by employing a local (Nigerian) with depth knowledge of the environment or an expatriate that has lived in the environment long enough to acquire this local knowledge, says Ganiyu.

Ganiyu explains that the important thing is that anyone performing this project marketing function must have great knowledge about the environment and be able to blend with the locals.

Another finding from his research is the focus of the firms on private project buyers as a way of avoiding corruption, and to pay less attention to government projects because of the corruption perception that normally goes with such projects in Nigeria. To be safer, the firms use international project consultants to handle project marketing when it comes to government projects.

According to the research, the nature of the projects to go for is also important.  It was found that projects not awarded on turnkey don’t normally get completed and so any would-be firm should always try to avoid partial projects and go all the time for either turnkey or turnkey-plus projects.

– Bearing these in mind, marketing projects to Nigeria becomes less risky, says Ganiyu.

Public defence

The public examination of M.Sc. Isau Ganiyu’s doctoral dissertation “Host-society uncertainty and risk management in Nigeria: Nordic project marketers’ sensemaking under examination” will be held on Thursday 17 March at 14 o´clock in auditorium Nissi (K218, Tritonia). The field of dissertation is marketing.

PhD Richard Owusu (Linnaeus University, Sweden) will act as opponent and professor Martti Laaksonen as custos. The examination will be held in English.

Publication orders and pdf

Further information:

Isau Ganiyu, tel. +358 46 6622 008, email: isau.ganiyu(at)student.uwasa.fi

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