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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




Personal profile

Demola Obembe is Associate Professor of Strategic Management and Head of Department for Management and Entrepreneurship. He joined the Business School in 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

  • Agricultural value chain in a turbulent environment
    Agricultural value chain in a turbulent environment Adeyeye, Adebowale; Kolade, Oluwaseun; Obembe, Demola; Ogunsade, Adekunle The development of agricultural value chains is typically associated with strong institutions, supporting infrastructures and stable political and policy environment. In developing countries characterized by environmental turbulence, smallholder farmers in particular, grapple with a wide range of obstacles and challenges that hinder them from full participation and optimisation of agricultural value chain by smallholder farmers. These factors include regulatory, market, competitive, weather, economic and political turbulence factors. This paper reviews the extant literature on agricultural value chain in the context of a turbulent environment. Drawing insights from the empirical context of Nigeria, where agricultural and other economic activities have been severely disrupted by terrorist violence, political instability and derelict infrastructure, we propose a conceptual framework that maps the impact of environmental turbulence on agricultural production, and discusses the technological and strategic options for smallholders to overcome these challenges in order to benefit optimally from agricultural value chain
  • Covid-19 and the tourism industry: an early-stage sentiment analysis of the impact of social media and stakeholder communication
    Covid-19 and the tourism industry: an early-stage sentiment analysis of the impact of social media and stakeholder communication Obembe, Demola; Kolade, Oluwaseun; Obembe, Funmi; Owoseni, Adebowale; Mafimisebi, Oluwasoye This paper examines tourist public responses to crisis communications during the early stages of Covid-19. Using the social-mediated crisis communication model, the paper explores the key factors that influence public sentiments during nascent periods of the crisis. The choice of data collection dates was determined by key milestones events with significant implications in relation to UK tourism. Sentiment analysis of data sets of public tweets and news articles were done in order to interrogate how the trends and performance of the airlines and the tourism sector have been shaped by the sentiments of the tourism publics, the crisis communication interventions from key institutional actors, and the news sentiments about tourism organizations, particularly airlines. Sentiment analysis, also known as opinion mining, falls under natural language processing (NLP) and is used to identify different sentiments and polarities in texts. Our findings indicate that institutional actors have a significant impact on the sentiments of tourism publics. Our study contributes to existing research on crisis communication by illuminating how public narrative about, and stakeholder responses to, crisis are shaped not just by organizational communication strategies but also institutional actors, on the one hand, and the interested publics too. open access journal
  • The Impact of Digital Transformation on Knowledge Management During COVID-19
    The Impact of Digital Transformation on Knowledge Management During COVID-19 Obembe, Funmi; Obembe, Demola Technology and digital transformations are increasingly important in today’s world. The COVID-19 pandemic that the entire world has been grappling with for the last year has made this even more so. The speed at which different organisations across various sectors have had to embrace digital transformations has been unprecedented. In some sectors this has been driven by the need to simply survive during this pandemic. However, beyond just responding to crisis, digital transformation, and the use of data to drive it has over the years brought about disruptions which have led to great innovations and progress. In many instances these innovations have not only been driven by digital transformations but by a merging of digital transformations and intelligent/adaptive knowledge management systems that have arisen from it. Even before the emergence of the pandemic, digital transformations, AI, machine learning techniques and various innovative technologies had started to be used to design intelligent and adaptive knowledge management systems. COVID-19 has greatly accelerated the uptake of these technologies across a wide range of sectors. Organisations that would successfully navigate these times and be ready for the future need their knowledge management systems to be intelligent and highly adaptive. Digital transformations and innovative technologies are increasingly making this possible. In this work in progress paper, we start to explore the impact of digital transformation and innovative technologies on organisations’ knowledge management systems and the changes in the factors that contribute to whether organisations adopt these innovative technologies/digital transformations in times of crisis such as during the COVID-19 pandemic. Knowledge management systems that can respond to inevitable changes that arise in crisis situations such as COVID-19 are invaluable. These systems are positioned to naturally produce actionable intelligence resulting in competitive advantage.
  • Introduction to Palgrave Handbook of African Entrepreneurship
    Introduction to Palgrave Handbook of African Entrepreneurship Kolade, Oluwaseun; Rae, David; Obembe, Demola; Woldesenbet, K.
  • Uncovering the role of institutional context for nascent entrepreneurial ventures
    Uncovering the role of institutional context for nascent entrepreneurial ventures Ogunsade, Adeknunle I.; Obembe, Demola; Woldesenbet, K. Existing research increasingly provide evidence to support the view that formal and informal institutions significantly influence entrepreneurship generally, and are particularly key influences for new venture creation. These institutions invariably act as triggers for economic growth and development. However, within the Sub-Saharan Africa context, nascent entrepreneurial ventures face wide range of challenges, which hinder entrepreneurial activities and limit development. By evaluating formal and informal institutional challenges facing nascent entrepreneurial ventures, we present a multi-dynamic view of embeddedness to uncover barriers to nascent entrepreneurial activity in Africa. Specifically, the study proposes an enterprise-enabling policy framework to promote economic action and bridge institutional voids which limit entrepreneurial venture development.
  • The Palgrave Handbook of African Entrepreneurship
    The Palgrave Handbook of African Entrepreneurship Kolade, Oluwaseun; Rae, David; Obembe, Demola; Woldesenbet, K. This comprehensive handbook offers a state-of-the-art guide to new frontiers of African entrepreneurship. Written from a Pan-African perspective by a cast of international authors, the book addresses the rapid modernisation and evolution of African entrepreneurship and business practices. It maps new developments in entrepreneurial ecosystems, technology and digital entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship in conflict zones, and gender and diversity issues. It proposes new models for entrepreneurial financing and explores the contrast between entrepreneurship in high-technology urban centres with peripheral rural districts and conflict zones. Bringing together empirical insights and case studies from countries across Africa, the Handbook illuminates regional and contextual differences and shares theoretical and practical insights which inform policy and practice. It is an ideal guide for researchers and students working on international business, entrepreneurship and emerging economies. It will also inform policymakers in developing context-informed entrepreneurial policies and initiatives in Africa.
  • Enterprise survival and growth: A conceptual exposition of entrepreneurial activities in Sub-Saharan Africa
    Enterprise survival and growth: A conceptual exposition of entrepreneurial activities in Sub-Saharan Africa Olagboye, Deji; Obembe, Demola; Okafor, Godwin Research on Informal Economy has advanced over recent years and gained increasing popularity. Despite this interest, there is a dearth of research exploring the institutionalisation of informal economy enterprises (IEE), particularly enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), and implications for the institutional environment. This chapter begins to address the deficit by conceptualising the establishment of a Nano Enterprise (NE) classification as an enabler for the institutionalisation of informal economy enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa. The survival and growth of IEE would be inherently challenging as informality creates resource-constraints. We argue that the establishment of a Nano Enterprise classification as an enabler for institutionalisation should operationally enhance the legitimacy and prospect of survival and growth among IEE in Sub-Saharan Africa. Also, that the nature of the context and institutionalisation pressures will equally impact any outcome. Finally, the chapter explores new avenues for entrepreneurship researchers to empirically test the institutionalisation proposal presented in this study.
  • Entrepreneurial Attitudes among University Students: The Role of Institutional Environments and Cultural Norms
    Entrepreneurial Attitudes among University Students: The Role of Institutional Environments and Cultural Norms Ogunsade, Adekunle I.; Obembe, Demola; Woldesenbet Beta, Kassa; Kolade, Oluwaseun 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.
  • Strategy consensus and social practice: A perspective from public sector managers
    Strategy consensus and social practice: A perspective from public sector managers Almansour, Jarrah; Obembe, Demola Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate consensus formation among top and middle managers during the strategy process. Specifically, the paper seeks to gain insight into to the role of strategic consensus during transition between strategy formulation and implementation. Design/methodology/approach: Adopting a social practice perspective and a single case study approach, we undertook semi-structured interviews of twenty-seven managers working in a Kuwaiti Ministry. Data collected was analysed using thematic analysis. Findings: We found that social interaction among individuals with similar characteristics and shared understanding fosters consensus. Factors such as alignment of strategic priorities, managerial flux, and centralised control, contribute to the extent to which strategic consensus is achievable. Additionally, managerial turnover and lack of empowerment hampers development of shared understanding. Finally, that consensus on strategy content is insufficient for effective inter-group communications. Originality: The research contributes to the strategic consensus literature from a social practice perspective as it provides new insights into the dynamics between top managers and middle managers. Significantly, it highlights the importance and need for common understanding, as well as communications prioritisation among managers for consensus development and successful implementation of organisation strategy. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version.
  • 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.

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 


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)

Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy, UK – (membership since 2009)

Fellow, Institute of Strategic Management, Nigeria

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. Enterprise Development.

Current availability: Y

Current research students

First Supervision

Deji Olagboye -  Survival and Growth of SMEs in Developing Economies

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


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    

Professional esteem indicators

Editorial advisory board member: Management Decision 

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

Ahmad Alfadly - Exploiting Customer Experience for Competitive Market Advantage: A Potential Marketing Strategy for Construction Firms in the Gulf Region (1st supervisor)  

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)

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