Determining the True Beneficiaries of University Research Output: Fostering Viability and Sustainability of Small and Medium Enterprises

This study aimed to identify the actual recipients of research output. The fact that research studies had been done but the alleged beneficiaries had not received feedback served as the impetus for this investigation. 80 professors from the Faculty of Commerce at one public institution in Zimbabwe participated in the study using a case survey methodology. Questionnaires that were semi-structured were used to elicit responses from academic scholars. Quantitative data was analysed using frequencies, percentages, cross tabulations, and Pearson chi-square tests. On qualitative data, thematic analysis was carried out. The findings show that just 36.92% of respondents had done research on small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), while the remaining 63.08% had done other, unrelated research. 41.67 percent of the respondents (36.22%) who have conducted SMEs studies had not given their conclusions to the target audience. The results show that some university academics do not appear to prioritise disseminating research output for useful applications. The failure of academics to disseminate their findings exposed basic problems. According to the report, authorities should encourage the dissemination of research output by offering incentives and support mechanisms and should remind researchers of the need of conveying their discoveries for practical application. The study found a void in the literature about who benefits when research studies on SMEs are conducted but the findings are not shared with them, and it set out to fill that gap.

Author(s) Details:

Gwendoline V. Nani,
Graduate School of Business, National University of Science and Technology, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

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Keywords: Lecturers, dissemination, research output, small and medium enterprises, beneficiaries.

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