The Role of Access to Finance, Relational Capabilities and the Component of Strategic Orientations on SMEs Performance in Nigeria: A Pilot Study

Kabiru Sa’ad Sa’id, Asmat-Nizam B Abdul Talib, Rohail Hassan


The objective of this study is to explore and confirm the validity and reliability of the measurement instrument to determine the role of access to financing, relational capabilities and component of strategic orientations on SMEs performance in Nigeria. SMEs performance is paramount due to their significant contribution to employment and GDP. The issue of non-performance of SMEs and lack of empirical evidence on the role of strategic orientations on SMEs performance in emerging countries particularly Nigeria motivated the study.  Therefore, confirming the validity and reliability of the measurement items will remove doubts regarding the applicability and suitability of the instrument in another context. It will also stand as the guide for full scale research. The study employed a survey approach and collected 33 useable questionnaires from SMEs in Kano-based on systematic random sampling technique. The model examined five factors as a determinant of SMEs performance in Nigeria. Hence the reliability and validity of the construct were determined by conducting data analysis using SPSSv20. Finally, the results have confirmed the validity and reliability of the measurement instruments used in the pilot study.


Strategic Orientation, Relational Capabilities, Access to Finance, SMEs performance

Full Text:



Abd-Razak, I. S., & Abdul-Talib, A. N. (2009). Explorative study of proactive and responsive export market orientation: an in-depth interview. In Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy (ANZMAC) Conference, Melbourne, Australia, November-December. Retrieved from www. duplication. net. au/ANZMAC09/papers/ANZMAC2009-288. pdf.

Abdul Talib, A. N. (2005). Differences in market-oriented behaviour levels accross firms’ domestic and export marketing operation: a study of antecedents and consequences. Aston University.

Abiodun, Tope, S., & Kida, M. I. (2015). The impact of strategic learning orientation, entrepreneurial orientation and reconfiguring capabilities on export performance of SMEs in Nigeria. International Journal of Management Science and Business Administration, 1(10), 70–78.

Acquaah, M., & Agyapong, A. (2015). The relationship between competitive strategy and firm performance in micro and small businesses in Ghana: The moderating role of managerial and marketing capabilities. Africa Journal of Management, 1(2), 172–193.

Adomako, S., Danso, A., & Damoah, J. O. (2016). The moderating influence of financial literacy on the relationship between access to finance and firm growth in Ghana. Venture Capital, 18(1), 43–61.

Aktan, B., & Bulut, C. (2008). Financial performance impacts of corporate entrepreneurship in emerging markets: A case of Turkey. European Journal of Economics, Finance and Administrative Sciences, 12(12), 69–77. Retrieved from

Al-Ansaari, Y., Bederr, H., & Chen, C. (2015). Strategic orientation and business performance. Management Decision, 53(10), 2287–2302.

Amin, M., Thurasamy, R., Aldakhil, A. M., & Kaswuri, A. H. Bin. (2016). The effect of market orientation as a mediating variable in the relationship between entrepreneurial orientation and SMEs performance. Nankai Business Review International, 7(1), 39–59.

Aminu, I. M., & Shariff, M. N. M. (2015). Determinants of SMEs performance in Nigeria: A pilot study. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 6(1), 156–164.

Aminu, Ibrahim Murtala, & Shariff, M. N. M. (2015). Influence of strategic orientation on SMEs access to finance in Nigeria. Asian Social Science, 11(4), 298–309.

Atuahene-Gima, K., & Ko, A. (2001). An empirical investigation of the effect of market orientation and entrepreneurship orientation alignment on product innovation. Organization Science, 12(1), 54–74.

Baker, W. E., & Sinkula, J. M. (1999). The synergistic effect of market orientation and learning orientation on organizational performance. Academy of Marketing Science, 27(4), 411–427.

Beneke, J., Blampied, S., Dewar, N., & Soriano, L. (2016). The impact of market orientation and learning orientation on organisational performance. Journal of Research of Marketing and Entrepreneurship, 18(1), 90–108.

Berisha, G. and, & Pula, J. . (2015). Defining small and medium enterprises: A critical review. Academic Journal of Business, Administration, Law and Social Sciences, 1(1), 17–28.

Bouri, A., Breiji, M., Diop, M., Kempner, R., Klinger, B., & Stevenson, K. (2011). Report on support to SMEs in developing countries through financial intermediaries. Geneva.

Brouthers, K. D., Nakos, G., & Dimitratos, P. (2015). SME entrepreneurial orientation, international performance, and the moderating role of strategic alliances. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, 39(5), 1161–1187.

Buli, B. M. (2017). Entrepreneurial orientation, market orientation and performance of SMEs in the manufactiuring industry: Evidence from Ethiopian entreprises. Management Research Review, 40(3), 292–309.

Chao, M. C., & Spillan, J. E. (2010). The journey from market orientation to firm performance: A comparative study of US and Taiwanese SMEs. Management Research Review, 33(5), 472–483.

Covin, J. G., & Slevin, D. P. (1989). Strategic management of small firms in hostile and benign environments. Strategic Management Journal, 10(1), 75–87.

D’Imperio, R. (2014). Growing the global economy through SMEs. The Edinburgh Group.

Dawson, C. (2007). Practical research method: A user friendly guide to mastering research technique and project (3rd ed.). Oxford: How To Book ltd.

Engelen, A., Gupta, V., Strenger, L., & Brettel, M. (2015). Entrepreneurial orientation, firm performance, and the moderating role of transformational leadership behaviors. Journal of Management, 41(4), 1069–1097.

Eris, E. D., & Ozmen, N. O. T. (2012). The effect of market orientation, learning orientation and innovativeness on firm performance: A research from Turkish logistics sector. International Journal of Economics Science and Applied Research, 5(1), 77–108.

Farrell, M. A., Oczkowski, E., & Kharabsheh, R. (2008). Market orientation, learning orientation and organisational performance in international joint ventures. Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, 20(3), 289–308.

Fatoki, Olawale. (2012). The Impact of entrepreneurial orientation on access to debt finance and performance of small and medium enterprises in South Africa. Journal of Social Sciences, 32(2), 121–131.

Fatoki, Oo. (2011). The impact of human, social and financial capital on the performance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa. Journal of Social Sciences, 29(3), 193–204. Retrieved from

Fink, A. (2003). The survey handbook (Vol. 1). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Frank, H., Kessler, A., Mitterer, G., & Weismeier-sammer, D. (2012). Learning orientation of SMEs and its impact on firm performance. Journal of Marketing and Competitiveness, 6(3), 29–41.

Gbandi, E. C., & Amissah, G. (2014). Financing options for small and medium enterprises in Nigeria. Europian Scientific Journal, 10(1), 327–340.

Gruber-Muecke, T., & Hofer, K. M. (2015). Market orientation, entrepreneurial orientation and performance in emerging markets. International Journal of Emerging Market, 10(3), 560–571.

Gupta, V. K., & Batra, S. (2016). Entrepreneurial orientation and firm performance in Indian SMEs: Universal and contingency perspectives. International Small Business Journal, 34(5), 660–682.

Hair, J. F., Black, W. C., Babin, B. J., Anderson, R. E., & Tatham, R. L. (2006). Multivariate data analysis (Vol. 6).

Hakala, H., & Kohtamäki, M. (2011). Configurations of entrepreneurial- customer- and technology orientation: Differences in learning and performance of software companies. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research, 17(1), 64–81.

Han, J. K., Kim, N., & Srivastava, R. K. (1998). Market orientation and organizational performance: Is innovation a missing link? Journal of Marketing, 62(4), 30.

Hassim, A. A., Asmat-Nizam, A.-T., & Addul Rahim, A. B. (2011). The effects of entrepreneurial orientation on firm organisational innovation and market orientation toward firm business performance. International on Sociality ND Economics Development. IPEDR, 10, 280–284.

Ho, K. L. P., Nguyen, C. N., Adhikari, R., Miles, M. P., & Bonney, L. (2017). Exploring market orientation, innovation, and financial performance in agricultural value chains in emerging economies. Journal of Innovation & Knowledge, 1–12.

Hussaini, J., Shah, F. A., & Khan, M. A. (2016). Does organizational learning orientation matter? Investigating the impact of learning orientation on SMEs performance. Sarhad Journal of Management Science, 2(2), 1–11.

Jacob, F. (2006). Preparing industrial suppliers for customer integration. Industrial Marketing Management, 35(1), 45–56.

Joseph, O. O., & Francis, K. (2015). The influence of organizational culture and market orientation on performance of microfinance institutions in Kenya. International Journal of Business and Management, 10(8), 204–211.

Kajalo, S., & Lindblom, A. (2015). Market orientation, entrepreneurial orientation and business performance among small retailers. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 43(7), 580–596.

Kanibir, H., Saydan, R., & Nart, S. (2014). Determining the antecedents of marketing competencies of SMEs for international market performance. `Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, `(1`), 12–23.

Karimi, A., & Ahmadpour Daryani, M. (2017). Effect of corporate entrepreneurship on firm performance in Iranian ASMEs: The mediation role of knowledge creation and learning orientation. Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology, 19(2), 261–277.

Keskin, H. (2006). Market orientation, learning orientation, and innovation capabilities in SMEs: An extended model. European Journal of Innovation Management, 9(4), 396–417.

Kirca, A. H., Jayachandran, S., & Bearden, W. O. (2005). Market orientation: A meta-analytic review and assessment of its antecedents and impact on performance. Journal of Marketing, 69(2), 24–41.

Kohli, A. K., & Jaworski, B. J. (1990). Market orientation: The construct, research propositions, and managerial implications. Journal of Marketing, 54(2), 1–18.

Kraus, S., Rigtering, J. P. C., Hughes, M., & Hosman, V. (2012). Entrepreneurial orientation and the business performance of SMEs: A quantitative study from the Netherlands. Review of Managerial Science, 6(2), 161–182.

Kreiser, P. M., Marino, L. D., Kuratko, D. F., & Weaver, K. M. (2013). Disaggregating entrepreneurial orientation: The non-linear impact of innovativeness , proactiveness and risk-taking on SME performance, 273–291.

Kropp, F., Lindsay, N. J., & Shoham, A. (2006). Entrepreneurial, market, and learning orientations and international entrepreneurial business venture performance in South African firms. International Marketing Review, 23(5), 504–523.

Krosnick, J. A., & Fabrigar. (1997). Designing rating scale for effective measurement survey; Survey measurement and process quality.

Kuivalainen, O., & Cadogan, J. W. (2004). The effect of environmental turbulence and leader characteristics on international performance: Are Knowledge-based firms different? Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, 2(1), 35–50.

Lam, S., Lee, V., Ooi, K., & Lin, B. (2011). Relationship between TQM , learning orientation and market performance in service organisations: An empirical analysis. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 22(12), 1277–1297.

Laukkanen, T., Nagy, G., Hirvonen, S., Reijonen, H., & Pasanen, M. (2013). The effect of strategic orientations on business performance in SMEs: A multigroup analysis comparing Hungary and Finland. International Marketing Review, 30(6), 510–535.

Li, Y., Zhao, Y., Tan, J., & Liu, Y. (2008). Moderating effect of entreprenerial orientation on market orientation-performance linkage: Evidence from chinese small firms. Journal of Small Business Management, 46(1), 113–133.

Lin, C.-H., Peng, C.-H., & Kao, D. T. (2008). The innovativeness effect of market orientation and learning orientation on business performance. International Journal of Manpower, 29(8), 752–772.

Lonial, S. C., & Carter, R. E. (2015). The impact of organizational orientations on medium and small firm performance: A resource-based perspective. Journal of Small Business Management, 53(1), 94–113.

Lorenzoni, G., & Lipparini, A. (1999). The leveraging of interfirm relationships as a distinctive organizational capability: A longitudinal study. Strategic Management Journal, 20(4), 317–338.<317::AID-SMJ28>3.0.CO;2-3

Lumpkin, G. T., & Dess, G. G. (2001). Linking two dimension of entrepreneurial orientation to firm performance: The moderating role of environment and industry life cycle. Journal of Business Strategy, 16(00), 429–451.

Mahmoud, A. M., & Ahmad, S. (2018). The Relationship between entrepreneurial behavior, psychological factors and individual performance of middle managers in Nigerian medium enterprises: A pilot study. International Journal of Organisation & Business Excellence, 3(1), 1–17.

Mahmoud, Mahmoud Ahmad, Ahmad, S. Bin, & Poespowidjojo, L. (2018). The role of personality and intrapreneurial behaviour on individual performance: Data screening and preliminary analysis. Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, 6(2), 38–46.

Mahmoud, Mahmoud Ahmad, Muharam, F. M., & Mas, A. (2015). Factors that influence the entrepreneurial intention of Nigerian postgraduates: Preliminary analysis and data screening. Asian Social Science, 11(4), 180–189.

Mahmoud, Mohammed Abdulai. (2011). Market orientation and business performance among SMEs in Ghana. International Business Research, 4(1), 241–251.

Martin, K. D., Cullen, J. B., Johnson, J. L., & Parboteeah, K. P. (2007). Deciding to bribe: A cross-level analysis of firm and home country influences on bribery activity. Academy of Management Journal, 50(6), 1401–1422.

Mason, M. C., Floreani, J., Miani, S., Beltrame, F., & Cappelletto, R. (2015). Understanding the impact of entrepreneurial orientation on SMEs performance. The role of the financing structure. Procedia Economics and Finance, 23(October 2014), 1649–1661.

Matanda, M. J., & Ndubisi, N. O. (2011). A comparison of interfirm relational capabilities in internationalising small-business enterprises (SBEs) and large firms in a developing country. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, 13(3/4), 296.

Michna, A. (2009). The relationship between organisational learning and SMEs performance in Poland. Journal of European Industrial Training, 33(4), 356–370.

Narver, J., & Slater, S. . (1990). The effect of a market orientation on business profitability. Journal of Marketing, 20–35.

Nasir, W. M. N. bin W. M., Al Mamun, A., & Breen, J. (2017). Strategic orientation and performance of SMEs in Malaysia. SAGE Open, 7(2).

Nikraftar, T., & Momeni, S. (2017). The effects of entrepreneurial orientation, market orientation and learning orientation on performance of ICT business. International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy, 10(4), 378.

Nunnally, C. J. (1978). Psychometric theory. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Nybakk, E. (2012). Learning orientation, innovativeness and financial performance in traditional manufacturing firms: A higher-order structural equation model. International Journal of Innovation Management, 16(5), 1250029.

OECD. (2017). Enhancing the contributions of SMEs in a global and digitilised economy. Paris.

Parida, V., Pesämaa, O., Wincent, J., & Westerberg, M. (2017). Network capability, innovativeness, and performance: A multidimensional extension for entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 29(1–2), 94–115.

Pinho, J. C. (2008). TQM and performance in small medium entreprises: The mediating effect of customer orientation and innovation. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, 25(3), 256–275.

Polat, I., & Mutlu, H. M. (2012). The impacts of market orientation, entrepreneurial orientation, environmental uncertainty and internationalization speed on firm performance. European Researcher, 27(8), 1248–1254.

Pulka, B. M., Ramli, A. Bin, & Bakar, M. S. (2018). Marketing capabilities, resources acquisition capabilities, risk management capabilities, opportunity recognition capabilities and SMEs Performance: A proposed framework. Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, 6(1), 12–22.

Rauch, A., Wiklund, J., Lumpkin, G. T., & Frese, M. (2009). Entrepreneurial orientation and business performance: An assessment of past research and suggestions for the future. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 33(3), 761–787.

Real, J. C., Roldán, J. L., & Leal, A. (2014). From entrepreneurial orientation and learning orientation to business performance: Analysing the mediating role of organisational learning and the moderating effects of organizational size. British Journal of Management, 25, 186–208.

Rogo, H. B., Noor, M., & Hafeez, M. H. (2017). Moderating effect of access to finance on the relationship between total quality management, market orientation and small and medium enterprises performance: A proposed framework. International Review of Management and Marketing, 7(1), 119–127.

Salavou, H., Baltas, G., & Lioukas, S. (2004). Organisational innovation in SMEs: The importance of strategic orientation and competitive structure. European Journal of Marketing, 38(9–10), 1091–1112.

Sekeran, U. (2003). Research methods for business: A skill building approach (4th ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Sekeran, U., & Bougie, R. (2009). Research methods for business: A skill building approach (5th ed.). West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Sekeran, U., & Bougie, R. (2010). Research methods for business: A skill building approach (5th ed.). New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons.

Shafei, R., & Zohdi, M. (2014). Relational capabilities in market orientation to improvement of performance outcomes in SMEs. International Journal of Business Performance Management, 15(4), 295.

Shamsudeen, K., Keat, O. Y., & Hassan, H. (2016). Access to finance as potential moderator on the relationship between entrepreneurial self-efficacy and SMEs performance in Nigeria: A proposed framework. IOSR Journal of Business and Management, 18(3), 131–136.

Shehu, A. M., & Mahmood, R. (2014). The relationship between market orientation and business performance of Nigerian SMEs: The role of organizational culture. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 5(9), 159–168.

Sinkula, J. M., Baker, W. E., & Noordewier, T. (1997). A framework for market-based organizational learning: Linking values, knowledge, and behavior. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 25(4), 305–318.

Slater, S. F., & Narver, J. C. (1995). Market orientation and the learning organization. Journal of Marketing, 59(3), 63.

SMEDAN. (2013). Smedan and National Bereau of Statistics Collaborative Survey: Selected Findings. Abuja, Nigeria.

Smirnova, M., Naudé, P., Henneberg, S. C., Mouzas, S., & Kouchtch, S. P. (2011). The impact of market orientation on the development of relational capabilities and performance outcomes: The case of Russian industrial firms. Industrial Marketing Management, 40(1), 44–53.

Spicer, D. P., & Sadler-Smith, E. (2006). Organizational learning in smaller manufacturing firms. International Small Business Journal, 24(2), 133–158.

Srećković, M. (2017). The performance effect of network and managerial capabilities of entrepreneurial firms. Small Business Economics, 1–18.

Sulhaini, S. (2017). How do entrepreneurial human resource practices determine small firms’ performance? International Research Journal of Business Studies, 9(3), 133–146.

Suliyanto, & Rahab. (2012). The role of market orientation and learning orientation in improving innovativeness and performance of small and medium enterprises. Asian Social Science, 8(1), 134–145.

Terwase, I. T., Abdul-Talib, A.-N., & Zengeni, K. T. (2014). Nigeria, Africa’s Largest Economy: International Business Perspective. International Journal of Management Sciences, 3(7), 534–543.

Tumwine, S., Akisimire, R., Kamukama, N., & Mutaremwa, G. (2015). A borrowing cost model for effective performance of SMEs in Uganda. World Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, 11(2), 74–89.

Verheugen, G. (2005). The new SMEs definition: User guide and model declaration. Enterprise and Industry Publication, European Commission.

Voss, G. B., & Voss, Z. G. (2000). Strategic orientation and firm performance in an artistic. Journal Marketing, 64, 67–83.

Wang, G., & Miao, C. F. (2015). Effects of sales force market orientation on creativity, innovation implementation, and sales performance. Journal of Business Research, 68(11), 2374–2382.

Wiklund, J., & Shepherd, D. (2005). Entrepreneurial orientation and small business performance: A configurational approach. Journal of Business Venturing, 20(1), 71–91.

WorldBank. (2014). Doing business in Nigeria 2014: Understanding regulations for small and medium-size enterprises.

Zamani, S. N. M., Abdul-Talib, A. N., & Ashari, H. (2016). Strategic orientations and new product success: The mediating impact of innovation speed. International Information Institute (Tokyo), informatio(19), 2785.

Zohdi, M., Shafeai, R., & Hashemi, R. (2013). Influence of relational capabilities on business performance case of: Kermanshah industrial city SMEs. International Research Journal of Applied and Basic Sciences, 4(3), 589–596.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.