THE NIGERIAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY
Volume 12, No. 2, (2014)
Social Networks and Business Performance of Igbo Migrant Traders in Ibadan, South-West Nigeria
Deborah O. Obor & Emeka E. Okafor
Department of Sociology, Faculty of the Social Sciences University of Ibadan Ibadan, Nigeria
This study focused on social networks and business performance among Igbo businessmen in Ibadan, South-west Nigeria through the exploratory research design. Social exchange, social network and social capital theories were employed as theoretical framework. Twenty-six in-depth interviews, key informant interviews and case studies were conducted with purposively selected respondents in four business locations in Ibadan. The results showed that among the factors that facilitated migration of the Igbo to Ibadan were their interest to learn a trade, their inability to attain higher education, and having a relative in Ibadan. The types of social networks available showed that social network was not location bound, as all the respondents belonged to town progressive unions and mutual benefits/cooperative associations. Social networks played vital roles in business performance, including social support, access to loan, business growth and expansion. The main challenges to maintaining adequate social network in business were distrust, envy, unbridled competition, dishonesty and inability to keep terms of agreement. The study concludes that social networks have positively influenced the business performance of migrant Igbo in Ibadan. There is need for the Igbo to strengthen their social networks through honesty, forthrightness, and transparency in all their dealings.
Keywords: Igbo-businessmen, social networks, ethnic associations, social capital, Ibadan