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Overcoming constraints to innovation : a study of Tanzanian entrepreneurial firms in the food and beverage industry

Magobe, Mato James


Mato James Magobe


A. C. Malfense Fierro

Steve Johnson


Entrepreneurial firms operating in resource-constrained and uncertain environments find it difficult to engage in innovation activities due to challenging innovation constraints. Innovation constraints may block potential innovative firms from getting their innovation efforts off the ground or prevent them from engaging in innovation activities in the first place. Despite facing several challenges still some firms can innovate and bring to the market innovative products, and even penetrate new niche markets by utilizing varied sources of ideas and information. These firms appear to have strategies to overcome a variety of innovation constraints and the critical question is how they overcome those challenges. Using empirical data drawn from the Tanzanian food and beverage industry, this study employed an explanatory sequential mixed methods approach to understand innovation behaviour of entrepreneurial firms in the context characterised by scarcity of resources and uncertainties. Three separate but inter-related research questions were examined and they sought to understand the factors constraining innovation efforts of the Tanzanian food and beverage manufacturers and how the constraints were overcome. The quantitative phase employed structural equation modeling technique to investigate the impact of financial, knowledge, market and regulatory constraints on innovation and firm performance, and the role of bricolage in overcoming innovation constraints. The findings indicated that financial, market and regulatory constraints collectively hindered innovation of potentially innovative enterprises in the industry. However, the relationship of knowledge constraints with innovation was negative but insignificant which suggested that knowledge constraints were perceived as of little importance by innovative firms. Entrepreneurial bricolage which is defined as firms’ long-term behaviour of creating something from nothing by utilizing practical knowledge and creatively combining and transforming resources at hand into something new played a partial role in overcoming financial and market constraints, but such effects were absent in regulatory constraints. The implication for these results was that entrepreneurial bricolage was not a sole strategy that innovative firms employed to deal with various innovation constraints. Further qualitative research, with emphasis on uncovering other mitigation strategies was conducted and the results offered additional insights into innovation constraints that innovative firms considered important, how they affected their innnovation efforts, what caused them and how they were overcome. The study adds to the theory of bricolage by suggesting that innovation in resource-constrained and uncertain environment is an outcome of a mix of bricolage and conventional strategies. Recommendations for practice and policy are given to improve firm innovativeness.


Magobe, M. J. (2020). Overcoming constraints to innovation : a study of Tanzanian entrepreneurial firms in the food and beverage industry. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Oct 6, 2022
Publicly Available Date Feb 24, 2023
Keywords Business
Public URL
Additional Information Business School, The University of Hull
Award Date Feb 1, 2020


Thesis (3.9 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2020 Magobe, Mato James. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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