Analysis of the importance of networking to Ethekwini business owners and managers.
Zondi, Wellington Bonginkosi.
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The concept of networking has seen a sustained growth of interest of late from academics and practicing managers. The purpose of this study is to contribute to understan ding the extent to which business owners and senior managers within Ethekwini realize the importance of networking and, further, reveal the extent of their willingness to form relationships with other business owners. In pursuit of this broad aim the research made use of a sample size of 206 respondents, who were asked, and agreed, to complete a questionnaire comprising 25 questions. The questions in the questionnaire were structured in such a way that most of the salient factors that could affect one’s willingness to form relationships with others were reflected in the responses. The targeted population represented a variety of business owners and managers of different age and race groups. Most of the questionnaires were self-administered, and due to time constraints they were also completed using the services of four field workers. The quantitative method of data analysis was used to compare and contrast responses given by the respondents. The findings may be summarized in four statements. First, most business people are not members of bodies representing businesses like theirs and yet they are willing to become members. Most business people are ignorant of the existence of bodies representing businesses like theirs. Second, while business owners and senior managers in Ethekwini have great confidence in the future of Ethekwini economy, they seem to be feeling so individually, and not as members of network groups. Third, most of the respondents except those that are members of bodies representing bodies of businesses like theirs, do not talk to competitors. This is a clear indication that contrary to past research findings, some businesses do not feel that they can benefit from sharing information with competitors. Fourth, business owners and senior managers who have low self-confidence are less likely to network. They tend to keep information to themselves, perhaps, because of low self -confidence, not out of greed.