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The information behaviour of Nigerian digital entrepreneurs: idea generation in start-up businesses.

Ibrahim, Muhammad Surajo


Muhammad Surajo Ibrahim



Though a wealth of research on information behaviour has been undertaken in a variety of contexts over the years, less has been done on entrepreneurship. In particular, there is a lack of literature around the ideation or business idea generation component in the early stages of business formation. This study seeks to address the theoretical and empirical gap within this research stream, bringing together information, innovation and creativity theory as lenses through which to explore the phenomenon. Twenty-six semi-structured interviews were conducted with business founders. Participants operated in a variety of segments of the digital technology spectrum, such as financial technology, digital art/non-fungible tokens, cryptocurrency, telecommunication, digital surveillance and e-commerce. Critical Realism (CR) and Grounded Theory (GT) were used as theoretical and practical data techniques, using abduction in the theoretical redescription of concepts (codes) identified in the empirical data, and retroduction to identify the necessary contextual conditions for a particular causal mechanism to take effect and result in the observed empirical trends. Results show several societal and personal factors play a role in shaping the information behaviour of digital entrepreneurs. These factors include but are not limited to poverty, marginalising, parenting (especially maternal) and mentors. Digital entrepreneurs traverse through various information landscapes - predominantly the Internet - and employ a composite approach to navigate these environments, depending on their information needs at any given time. Marginalised entrepreneurs - especially immigrants and women - show sophisticated information behaviour strategies in equalising socio-economic adversities. The current research indicates that language, social and economic status can present significant barriers for individuals seeking information, and they can add additional layers of complexity to the already existing barriers.


IBRAHIM, M.S. 2023. The information behaviour of Nigerian digital entrepreneurs: idea generation in start-up businesses. Robert Gordon University, PhD thesis. Hosted on OpenAIR [online]. Available from:

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Mar 12, 2024
Publicly Available Date Mar 12, 2024
Keywords Information behaviour; Information seeking; Entrepreneurs; Entrepreneurship
Public URL
Award Date Sep 30, 2023


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