Skip to content

Dr Demola Obembe

Job: Head of Department (Management and Entrepreneurship)

Faculty: Business and Law

School/department: Leicester Castle Business School

Research group(s): Centre for Enterprise and Innovation

Address: The Gateway, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 250 7916

E: dobembe@dmu.ac.uk

W: http://www.dmu.ac.uk/bal

 

Personal profile

Demola Obembe joined the Business School as a Senior Lecturer in Strategic Management in October 2011. Before this, he held academic teaching and research appointments at; University of Roehampton, Queen Mary University of London, Warwick Business School and University of Leicester. He has previously undertaken research in banking, construction, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, exploring a range of issues such as mergers and acquisitions, knowledge sharing, innovation network development and general organisation studies.  Prior to entering academia, he worked in the Nigerian Banking Industry with Citibank and also had a stint teaching at secondary school level.

Research group affiliations

 Centre for Enterprise and Innovation

Publications and outputs 

  • Deep Learning and Tacit Knowledge Transfer – An Exploratory Study
    Deep Learning and Tacit Knowledge Transfer – An Exploratory Study Obembe, Funmi; Obembe, Demola In 1966, Michael Polanyi wrote his seminal piece on the ‘tacitness’ of knowledge, essentially bringing to the fore, the non-codifiability of knowledge and the possibility for individuals to know more than they are able to express. Nearly thirty years later Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) popularised the possibility for knowledge conversion between the tacit and explicit dimensions of knowledge. They proposed that organisations are able to create knowledge through a spiral of interactions between socialisation, externalisation, combination and internalisation of knowledge. Since then, various attempts have been made to develop mechanisms for codifying tacit knowledge including; storytelling, modelling, and more recently, various artificial intelligence/machine learning algorithms. In this study we examine the use of deep learning for representing, codifying and eventually transferring tacit knowledge. We draw on existing research on the role of artificial intelligence in Knowledge Management as well as current works on Deep learning to explore the potential role that deep learning can play in the learning, representation and transfer of tacit knowledge. Deep learning, as a subset of machine learning in artificial intelligence which provides algorithms that mimic the way the brain works and offers significant prospects for knowledge externalisation. Specifically, it can provide a means for representing knowledge in a different manner to human representation. This alternative machine representation is premised on the notion that if tacit knowledge can be learned and represented in a way that can then be codified, the knowledge modelled in such a way is then transferable. Arguably, where deep learning is able to capture and represent tacit knowledge, the ability for knowledge to be codified and externalised will increase exponentially and invariably constitute a significant breakthrough in the ability for both individuals and organisations to access and combine existing knowledge as well as to create new knowledge.
  • Skilled Hands in Turbulent Winds: Entrepreneurial Skills and New Venture Performance in Conflict-Ridden Northern Nigeria
    Skilled Hands in Turbulent Winds: Entrepreneurial Skills and New Venture Performance in Conflict-Ridden Northern Nigeria Kolade, Oluwaseun; Egbetokun, Abiodun; Obembe, Demola This paper investigated the relationship between entrepreneurial training, entrepreneurial skills and new venture performance in Northern Nigeria where, in recent years, Boko Haram terrorist insurgency has precipitated a severe humanitarian crisis and a high level of disruption to economic activities. The study is based on new survey data from a representative sample of 331 undergraduate entrepreneurs, analysed using Structural Equation Modelling and Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression. The results show that there is significant impact of entrepreneurship education on business performance partially mediated by entrepreneurial skills. The findings of this study also show that entrepreneurial skills are a significant moderator of the relationship between perceived environmental turbulence and new venture performance. These suggest that enhanced skills make a difference on business survival and performance amid the uncertainty, market disruption, and physical danger precipitated by the insurgency. Finally, the paper highlights the need for entrepreneurship education programmes to be designed around specific skills requirements and the peculiarities of the local contexts.
  • Social Practice within Strategy Communication Process: Power Distance Tension among Top and Middle Managers
    Social Practice within Strategy Communication Process: Power Distance Tension among Top and Middle Managers Al-Mansour, Jarrah FSA; Obembe, Demola We examine the role of power distance in regulating strategy communication practice among top and middle managers from a social practice perspective. We argue that power distance cannot be treated as a material factor that can be controlled and easily measured beyond organisation boundaries; rather, it is a cultural accumulation of social interactions between organisational members. Based on a single case study with 27 interviews drawn from a Kuwaiti public sector organisation, we found that strengthening communication practices among organisational members and aligning individual- and group-level cognition, are key drivers for successful communication of strategy in public sector organisations. Furthermore, we found that in a high-power distance culture, more powerful individuals are inclined to make autocratic decisions. Equally, organisations with high power distance cultures are prone to deliberate mismanagement and high cultural tension. Our research contributes to the culture literature by exploring the under-researched subject of power distance and the cognitive understanding of social practice. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link. open access journal.
  • Organization and Product Design Pairings: A Review of Product Innovation Capabilities, Conceptualization and Future Directions
    Organization and Product Design Pairings: A Review of Product Innovation Capabilities, Conceptualization and Future Directions Mafimisebi, Oluwasoye; Obembe, Demola; Aluko, Oluwakayode Drawing on the Resource-based view of firms and market orientation theory, this paper presents a complementary view of the influence of product innovation capabilities (PICs) on organization and product design pairings. By exploring the influence of three complementary factors; market orientation, organizational form, and managerial strategic decisions, as essential determinants for emergence of architectural pairings, we theorize that PICs lead to better; organization and product design pairings selection, unique customer benefits, market acceptance, significant cost reductions, and new products development, and consequently superior organizational performance. We propose in essence, that PICs significantly shape and determine the success of architectural pairings between organization and product designs, and act as a source of sustainable competitive advantage for organizations. We further identify scope for future research to evaluate measures and validity of product innovation capability dimensions, and the extent of influence of the identified factors on architectural pairings. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • The Future of Strategy Implementation Research in the Strategy Context: A Call for a Divergent Shift in Strategizing
    The Future of Strategy Implementation Research in the Strategy Context: A Call for a Divergent Shift in Strategizing Obembe, Demola Although researchers have extensively investigated obstacles to strategy implementation, many organisations, both public and private, still face strategy implementation failure. In this research, we examine the way in which strategy is communicated among top and middle managers from a social practice perspective. We argue that strategy implementation research and relevant obstacles are no longer representative of the problem of strategy failure; rather, it is the accumulation of social interactions between internal social actors that need to be internally understood in terms of strategizing. Our data is based on a single case study with 20 interviews drawn from one public sector organisation, from which we find that internal social actors must align both individual- and group-level cognition prior the strategy implementation phase. Furthermore, we found that most of the strategy implementation barriers are in fact related to the strategy communication prior the actual execution of the associated strategic objectives. Our findings report a vital concern in terms of how future strategizing should be formed, and therefore calls for a shift in thought from strategy implementation barriers to the social practice barriers that impede the execution of strategic objectives. Our exploration therefore pushes the field forward by enriching the under-researched area of strategy communication processes and the cognitive understanding of internal social practice.
  • Strategy Communication and Transition Dynamics among Managers: A Public Sector Organization Perspective
    Strategy Communication and Transition Dynamics among Managers: A Public Sector Organization Perspective Obembe, Demola; Jarrah, Al Mansour; Kolade, Oluwaseun Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to build on the research-supported view that interactions between top and middle management enhances effective implementation of organizational strategies by exploring the role of internal actors in driving organizational strategy at the intersection between strategy formulation and strategy implementation. Design/methodology/approach: Adopting a social practice perspective, we undertook semistructured interviews of 27 top and middle level managers drawn from a single case organization. Data collected was analysed using thematic analysis. Findings: Differences in managerial perception of strategy has significant impact on implementation of strategic decisions as well as creating tensions in recursive communication practices between internal social actors. Furthermore, individual perceptions cannot only limit the extent of strategy awareness among key actors, the manifestations through social interaction between top and middle managers is a critical determinant of effective communication and realization of organizational strategy. Originality/value: The research contributes to the strategy process and practice literature by exploring the dynamic interactions taking place at the intersections of strategy formulation implementation phases of organizational strategy. It particularly highlights practical issues in top and middle manager interactions and implications for successful strategy implementation. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Technological constraints to firm performance: the moderating effects of firm linkages and cooperation
    Technological constraints to firm performance: the moderating effects of firm linkages and cooperation Kolade, Oluwaseun; Obembe, Demola; Salia, Samuel Manufacturing and services SMEs in Africa face challenges and constraints exacerbated by ineffectual government policies, environmental turbulence and the near-absence of institutional support. This study investigates if informal linkages and formal cooperation are helping firms to overcome constraints to uptake of technological innovations in Nigeria. The paper is based on quantitative data obtained from structured interviews of 631 Nigerian firms. These firms were selected using stratified random sampling from a total population of 18,906 manufacturing and services companies in the national database obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics. The result of the binary logistic regression indicates that, while informal linkages appear to be insignificant, formal inter-firm cooperation is an effective moderator of barriers to technological innovations. The paper focuses only on technological, rather than non-technological, innovations. The paper recommends that, in addition to other interventions to promote diffusion of technological innovations, governments should give priority to interventions that support formal cooperation among SMEs. Previously studies have generally looked at the impact of cooperative networks on firms' innovation uptake. This paper provides original insights into the "how" of cooperative impact, specifically with respect to helping SMEs to overcome constraints. The paper also delineates formal cooperation from informal linkages
  • The Influence of Power Distance on Top and Middle Managers’ Strategy Communication: An Insight from Kuwaiti Context
    The Influence of Power Distance on Top and Middle Managers’ Strategy Communication: An Insight from Kuwaiti Context Obembe, Demola We examine the role of power distance in regulating strategy communication practice among top and middle managers from a social practice perspective. We argue that power distance cannot be treated as a material factor that can be controlled and easily measured beyond the organisation boundary; rather, it is the accumulation of social interactions between organisational members that needs to be internally understood. Based on a single case study with 27 interviews drawn from a public sector organisation in Kuwait, we find that strengthening the communication practice among organisational members and aligning both individual- and group-level cognition are key drivers for the successful communication of strategy in public sector organisations. Furthermore, we found that in a high power distance culture, the most powerful individuals make decisions in a dictatorial manner. Equally, organisations with high power distance cultures are prone to deliberate mismanagement and high cultural tension. Our exploration therefore pushes the field forward by enriching the under-researched area of power distance and the cognitive understanding of social practice.
  • Institutional Environments and Youths Entrepreneurial Orientation: Evidence from Nigeria
    Institutional Environments and Youths Entrepreneurial Orientation: Evidence from Nigeria Ogunsade, Isaac A.; Obembe, Demola; Woldesenbet, K.; Vershinina, Natalia Entrepreneurial activities and venture creation among youths represent one of the key drivers of job creation and economic growth (OECD, 2016; Acs, 2006). What influences individual entrepreneur to business start-up remains an enduring issue of interest in academic research on entrepreneurship. Recent studies suggest that the institutional context plays a key role in influencing individual behaviour, as well as in facilitating entrepreneurial climate for new ventures. Consequently, this study draws on institutional theory as a valuable lens to investigate the extent to which the regulative, normative and cultural-cognitive environments affect individual entrepreneurial orientation (IEO) and self-employment among Nigerian youths. The study adopts a quantitative research approach, allowing for primary data collection conducted through survey questionnaire and administered to a sample of 482 student respondents. A three-stage hierarchical regression analysis was used to test the hypotheses and to investigate the predictability impact of the model. The result revealed that all three predictor variables (Institutional environments) made a statistical unique contribution to the model. However, the regulative and cognitive model made a statistically significant unique contribution to impacting the individual entrepreneurial orientation among the university educated Nigerian youths.
  • Achieving Strategic Consensus through Individuals’ Social Practice: The Perspective of Kuwaiti Managers
    Achieving Strategic Consensus through Individuals’ Social Practice: The Perspective of Kuwaiti Managers Al Mansour, Jarrah; Obembe, Demola It has been established that successful communication and implementation of organisational strategies is highly relevant to the understanding and commitment of internal stakeholders to this strategy. Termed strategic consensus, research in this area has quantitatively suggested that the concept is material in nature and can be simply controlled and aligned with other constructs including strategy implementation processes (Aranda and Arellano, 2010; Edh Mirzaei et al., 2016). However, there is limited research available in the literature on the social practice roles of both top and middle managers in achieving strategic consensus and their commitment to such understanding in terms of driving strategy. In this study, we explore the role of top and middle managers in forming a shared understanding of strategy during the communication and the implementation processes from a social practice perspective. Particularly, the focus of this investigation is to understand how a shared understanding is socially practiced and achieved between top and middle managers, and the consequent implications this might have for strategy communication and execution. A qualitative approach with a single case study was applied with a total of 27 interviews conducted. We argue that whilst strategic consensus as a factor affecting various business areas, the overall effect is not wholly dependent on the factor in and of itself; rather, the social interaction of both top and middle managers in reaching a shared understanding and their commitment to such an understanding plays a critical role in the extent to which strategies may be successfully realised.

Click here to see a full listing of Demola Obembe's publications and outputs.

Research interests/expertise

  • Knowledge and Innovation Management Strategies
  • Strategy Processes and Practice
  • Entrepreneurship and SMEs
  • Change Management
  • Social Capital
  • Organisational Networks

Areas of teaching

  • Strategy and Business Management
  • Entrepreneurship 

Qualifications

PhD in Management (University of Leicester)

MBA (University of Leicester)

PGD Financial Management (University of Ibadan-CSU)

BSc (Hons) Biochemistry (University of Ibadan)

PGC Learning & Teaching in HE (University of Roehampton)

Courses taught

Undergraduate: (Historical) Strategic Management, Contemporary Business Issues, Perspectives on Creative Leadership

Postgraduate: (Historical) International Strategic Management, Markets and Resources, Business Creation and Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Innovation,

Membership of professional associations and societies

Fellow, Chartered Management Institute, UK –  (membership since 2007)

Fellow, Higher Education Academy, UK – 2008

Conference attendance

Al Mansour, J. and Obembe, D. (2019) ‘The Influence of Power Distance on Top and Middle Managers’ Strategy Communication: An Insight from Kuwaiti Context’, British Academy of Management Conference, Aston University, 3-5 September. Contribution Type: Full paper; Attendance Funding: De Montfort University

Mumbi, H. and Obembe, D. (2016) ‘Shared Leadership in Voluntary Organisations: An Exploratory Survey using Internal Stakeholder Perspective’, British Academy of Management Conference, Newcastle University, 6-8 September. Contribution Type: Full paper; Attendance Funding: De Montfort University

Obembe, D., Chukwudum, V. and Nnabuife, N. (2015) ‘Exploring crisis management and business continuity among Nigerian small and medium scale enterprises’, British Academy of Management Conference, University of Portsmouth, 8-10 September. Contribution Type: Full paper; Attendance Funding: De Montfort University

Obembe, D. and Howlett, S. (2010) ‘Knowledge Management in the Voluntary Sector: Investigating Knowledge Sharing Practices for Value Creation’, British Academy of Management Conference, The University of Sheffield, 14-16 September. Contribution Type: Working paper; Attendance Funding: Roehampton University Business School

Obembe, D. and Baptiste, N. (2009) ‘Interim Assessment Feedback as ‘Best-Practice’ in Facilitating Student Learning in HE’, Submission to the Roehampton University 6th Annual Learning and Teaching Conference 2009, London, 28 April. Contribution Type:Full paper; Attendance Funding: N/A

Obembe, D. (2008) ‘Understanding Individual Action: When Employees Contravene Management Directives to Foster Knowledge Sharing’, Submission for the European Group for Organizational Studies 2008 Colloquium, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 10-12 July. Contribution Type: Full paper; Attendance Funding: Roehampton University Business School

Consultancy work

Strategy; knowledge & innovation management, change management.

Current availability: Y

Current research students

First Supervision

Deji Olagbayi -  Survival and Growth of SMEs in Developing Economies

Ahmad Alfadly - Exploiting Customer Experience for Competitive Market Advantage: A Potential Marketing Strategy for Construction Firms in the Gulf Region       

Second Supervision

Kiran Kaur - Managing Family Firm Continuity and Growth Dilemma       

Bisola Ariyo - Exploring Resilience Capability in Micro and Small Businesses in Crisis-Affected Regions

Olapeju Ogunmokun - Small Enterprises Debt Financing:  Perspectives from Prospect and Market for Lemons Theories       

Eisa Alqaydi - Resident's Perception of Police Services in the Unites Arab Emirates Immigration Department

Adebowale Adeyeye - Agricultural Value Chain Optimization

Fabian Horn - Diversity, Cognition and Strategic Communication of Top Management Teams       

Professional esteem indicators

 Article Editor: Sage Open

 Journal reviews: Organization Studies, Management Learning, Public Money and Management, Entrepreneurship and Regional Development. African Journal of Management.

Conference reviews British Academy of Management; International Conference on Information Systems

PhD Completions

Peter McHardy - Identifying Boundary Spanning Behaviour across Members of Heterogeneous Groups within a Project Environment (2nd Supervisor)

Jarrah Al Mansour - Strategy Transition Process and Practices in Public Sector Organizations (1st supervisor)

Adekunle Ogunsade - The Influences of Institutional Environment on Individual Entrepreneurial Orientation and Venture creation among Nigerian Youths (1st Supervisor)

David Cantliffe - Precursors to Organizational Resilience: A Study of Strategic Decision-Making at the Antecedent Stage of a Crisis (2nd Supervisor)

Henry Mumbi - Shared Leadership: An Exploratory Study taking a Stakeholder Approach in Voluntary Organisations. (1st Supervisor)

Search Who's Who

Demola Obembe image