University of Oulu

Alo, O., Ali, I., Zahoor, N., Arslan, A., & Golgeci, I. (2023). Impression management and leadership in failing or failed business-to-business firms during and post-COVID-19: Empirical insights from Africa. Industrial Marketing Management, 113, 1–13.

Impression management and leadership in failing or failed business-to-business firms during and post-COVID-19 : empirical insights from Africa

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Author: Alo, Obinna1; Ali, Imran2; Zahoor, Nadia3;
Organizations: 1Business School, University of Sunderland, UK
2School of Business & Law, Central Queensland University, Melbourne Campus, Australia
3School of Business & Management, Queen Mary University of London, UK & InnoLab, University of Vaasa, Finland
4Department of Marketing, Management & International Business, Oulu Business School, University of Oulu, Finland
5Department of Business Development and Technology, Aarhus University, Denmark & InnoLab, University of Vaasa, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-06-15


This paper is one of the pioneering studies to specifically link COVID-19 pandemic with business failures in African B2B firms and the role of leadership and impression management in mitigating business failures. Based on the qualitative data from Ghana and Nigeria, our findings show that although B2B firms in emerging markets are agile and proactive, the COVID-19 pandemic triggered the process of business decline leading to failure in some cases. Particularly, the lack of technological know-how and the absence of online business activities made it difficult for B2B firms to continue operations. Further, we found that case B2B African firms needed a balance of market and non-market strategies to avoid failure caused by the pandemic. Study findings also indicate that despite the challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic presented opportunities to B2B firms in emerging markets. Flexible working and employee management are found to be instrumental in avoiding business failure. Finally, our findings show that, despite the absence of institutional support in African emerging markets, several case B2B firms quickly adopted digital technologies to communicate with partners and manage online business operations.

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Series: Industrial marketing management
ISSN: 0019-8501
ISSN-E: 1873-2062
ISSN-L: 0019-8501
Volume: 113
Pages: 1 - 13
DOI: 10.1016/j.indmarman.2023.05.018
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 512 Business and management
Copyright information: © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (