Knowledge Sharing Processes within a Women Empowering Network: A case study of Uganda

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Knowledge Sharing Processes within a Women Empowering Network - a case study of Uganda

Bachelor’s Thesis 15 hp

Department of Business Studies Uppsala University

Spring Semester of 2020

Date of Submission: 2020-06-04

Johanna Dagfalk Amelie Ekström

Supervisor: Susanne Åberg



First and foremost, we want to thank our supervisor Susanne Åberg, for support and valuable advice.

Secondly, the project would never have been possible without the initial contact made with the help of the Swedish Patent and Registers Office. Further, Alexandra Bhattacharya from the World Intellectual Property Organization helped us prepare for the upcoming interviews with previous experience and knowledge of the business case GSWIM.

However, of greatest importance for this thesis is the cooperation with the GSWIM network and the willingness from the founder Lilian Nantume. Thank you for your encouragement and assistance.

Lastly, we are grateful for the time and effort put down by the five women and network members that have been interviewed. You inspire us!

Johanna Dagfalk & Amelie Ekström

June, 2020


2 Abstract

Boundaries in the growth of women entrepreneurship, in general, are for example family responsibility, gender discrimination, missing networks and the lack of interaction with other

successful entrepreneurs. This is especially critical in developing countries where the women have to face additionally barriers. The existence of supportive organizations is crucial in creating

opportunities for female entrepreneurship.

One example of a female entrepreneurial network that supports women doing business is GSWIM (Grooming a Successful Woman with an Intellectual Mind), operating in Kampala, Uganda. This thesis will study the knowledge sharing behaviour within the organization. The main data collection has been retrieved through interviews held with five business women, members of GSWIM. A developed version of the MOA framework (Motivation, Opportunity, Ability) have been used to analyse the collected data. It is shown that there are a lot of things in GSWIM that facilitate the knowledge sharing behaviour. GSWIM motivate, inspire and are proficient in communicating the value of sharing knowledge. However, there are some crucial aspects for improvements related to increased ability, belongingness of members and decentralization. The long-term orientation is along with team cohesiveness, probably two of the network’s major assets. By providing a network for women, and a platform for knowledge sharing, GSWIM has reduced some barriers to

entrepreneurship in Uganda.

Keywords: Knowledge Sharing, Uganda, Women Entrepreneurship, Empowerment, Supportive

Organizations, Female Network, The MOA framework, Gender Equality


3 Table of Contents

1. Introduction ... 5

1.1 Aim and research questions ... 6

2. Theoretical framework ... 6

2.1 The Surrounding Long-term Orientation ... 7

2.2 Motivation... 8

2.3 Opportunity ... 8

2.4 Ability ... 9

2.5 Connection between MOA and knowledge sharing ... 10

2.6 Knowledge Sharing within Supportive Organizations ... 10

3. Research methodology ... 11

3.1 Case study ... 11

3.1.1 Choice of Business case ... 12

3.1.2 Contact person ... 12

3.1.3 Additional contacts ... 12

3.2 Preparations ... 13

3.2.1 Choice of respondents ... 13

3.2.2 Operationalization of theoretical framework ... 13

3.2.3 Ethical considerations ... 16

3.2.4 Pilot interview ... 16

3.3 The carrying out of interviews ... 17

3.4 Data analysis ... 19

3.5 Trustworthiness... 19

4. Empirical data ... 20

4.1 Background ... 20

4.1.1 Uganda ... 20

4.1.2 The situation for Women in Uganda ... 21

4.1.3 GSWIM ... 21

4.1.4 Capacity Building Program... 22

4.2 Interview data ... 23

4.2.1 Business stories ... 23

4.2.2 Driving forces behind the entrepreneurship ... 25

4.2.3 The first period in GSWIM ... 26

4.2.4 Inside the network ... 26

4.2.5 The major outcomes of GSWIM... 27

4.2.6 Future plans ... 28

4.2.7 Other supportive organizations ... 29



5. Analysis ... 30

5.1 LTO... 30

5.2 Motivation... 31

5.3 Opportunity ... 33

5.4 Ability ... 35

5.5 Supportive organizations ... 38

6. Discussion ... 39

6.1 Follow-up, motivation and team cohesiveness ... 39

6.2 Increased ability, the role of male and females, and new members ... 40

6.3 GSWIM in the context of empowerment... 42

7 Conclusions ... 43

7.1 Further research ... 43

References ... 45

Appendix ... 48


5 1. Introduction

The growth of the economy is dependent on an increasing number of women doing business.

Obstacles in the growth of women entrepreneurship, in general, are for example family responsibility, gender discrimination, missing networks and the lack of interaction with other successful

entrepreneurs (Bulsara, Chandwani & Gandhi, 2014). Further, women in developing countries have to face additional barriers constructed through political instabilities and financial problems within the country. In Uganda, there are several kinds of economic, cultural and social barriers for women entrepreneurship. However, Uganda’s government support for women empowerment is increasing and commitment for reducing gender inequalities is part of the country's development plan.

Nevertheless, the indirect support from supporting organizations, such as knowledge sharing - is as important as financial support (Guma, 2015).

Unfortunately, the coordination between the private sector and the government is underdeveloped. In fact, inadequate management is one of the major barriers that women in Uganda face when seeking empowerment through entrepreneurship. Without support from assisting initiatives, their

entrepreneurial development would be close to impossible. There are multiple organizations in developing countries trying to break these barriers and instead support female empowerment. Some organizations are especially focused on addressing and supporting the link between female

entrepreneurship and women empowerment (Guma, 2015). Education, usually managed by non- governmental organizations (NGOs), provides skills and self-esteem in order to make it possible for women to participate in economic development. The NGOs that support women empowerment are commonly led by women and provide security, promote discussion, and raise critical thinking about social norms and gender. Supportive organizations also provide opportunity to meet other women and share experience, which creates social networks (Stromquist, 2015).

Interest in sharing knowledge has increased over time. Knowledge sharing can be studied in different areas, where one of them is how team characteristics influence knowledge sharing among team members. Examples of things positively associated with this are team cohesiveness, communication styles, empowering leadership and an individual’s confidence. Being a minority based on gender, on the other hand, is correlated with members being less likely to share knowledge (Wang & Noe, 2010).

Relationships in terms of mentors and role models can strengthen the individuals' belief in their own

capacity (Eger, Miller & Scarles, 2018), and in turn it is also crucial for knowledge creation (Robb,

Valerio & Parton, 2014). One very important factor that builds women empowerment is the ability to

learn from others’ experience (Stromquist, 2015). An organization that promotes learning from each

other is the female entrepreneurial network GSWIM, founded in 2017. GSWIM stands for Grooming



a Successful Woman with an Intellectual Mind and is a local organization in Kampala, Uganda, that inspires and supports women in innovation and empowerment (GSWIM, 2019).

While there are many studies of knowledge sharing as well as studies of business in low-income countries with a focus on women, there is a dearth of studies combining these two fields. However, Connelly and Kelloway (2003) combine these two subjects and state that women require a more positive social interactive culture than men, before they would partake in knowledge sharing. Durbin (2011) determines that the previous research in the field of knowledge sharing with a gender

perspective has not been given the attention it deserves and Eger, Miller and Scarles (2018) suggest that more studies in the area of gender relationships in combination with capacity building processes are required.

1 .1 Aim and research questions

Women empowerment is a complex issue with several dimensions, wherefore this thesis will study the entrepreneurship dimension of empowerment. The study aims to increase our understanding of knowledge sharing within an entrepreneurial network. Further, the study will be focused on the gender perspective within knowledge sharing and we intend to investigate the following research questions with the help of a case study:

● How do GSWIM activities facilitate the knowledge sharing among the women in the network?

● What are the crucial aspects of GSWIM in terms of improved knowledge sharing?

2. Theoretical framework

The cornerstones of the model that will be used in the research of the GSWIM organization in Uganda, includes the Motivation, Opportunity and Ability model (MOA) and the surrounding Long- Term Orientation concept (LTO) that together drive the Knowledge Sharing behaviour (Turner &

Pennington, 2015), see Figure 1. Below each MOA component are some key words describing it´s

central themes. Further, within supporting organizations there is the possibility to learn from each

other (Stromquist, 2015), as much as learning from mentorship (Robb, Valerio & Parton, 2014)

crucial for knowledge creation. Ultimately, supportive organizations and engagement of non-state

actors, such as NGOs, boost women empowerment in several dimensions (Stromquist, 2015). To

support the MOA model, the concepts that according to Wang and Noe (2010) and Vuori, Helander



and Mäenpää (2019) affect the knowledge sharing behaviour, are added to further develop Turner and Pennington’s (2015) description of the Motivation, Opportunity and Ability components.

Figure 1. Framework combined into one model.

2.1 The Surrounding Long-term Orientation

The Long-Term Orientation (LTO) concept is present to show the importance of clear goals in the context of knowledge sharing. While knowledge sharing could be described as a formalized control system, the LTO is the fundamental vision that drives this behaviour to occur. LTO shows that focus on future development is necessary and emphasises the importance of having clear goals. The core concept of LTO is that the more distinct the goals are, the better it positively correlates with

motivation, opportunity, and ability (Turner & Pennington, 2015). The expectation of the usefulness is an important component in the context of knowledge sharing. The individual sharing knowledge should feel some kind of long term benefit to engage in knowledge sharing, for example that the knowledge will come to use or that the effort improves the relationship with the receivers (Wang &

Noe, 2010).

While motivation is about your mind, opportunity is focused on the context. Ability is about the actual

knowledge, its characteristics, and the resources available, that serve as conditions for implementing



knowledge sharing. All of these factors are necessary, and with absence of any of the three, the process will not be efficient (Turner & Pennington, 2015). Furthermore, these concepts should not only be analysed individually, since they may, in a combination, influence each other. This is also declared by Wang and Noe (2010), who state that combined factors on different levels may influence knowledge sharing more than what they would do individually. They emphasise the complexity of knowledge sharing and that it is a hierarchical phenomenon with several levels to examine (Wang &

Noe, 2010). The components within the MOA model should be analysed together and in different combinations, but not individually. Together they drive the knowledge sharing behaviour and to distinguish their intertwined relations they are kept together within the concept of Long-Term Orientation (Turner & Pennington, 2015).

2.2 Motivation

Turner and Pennington (2015) define motivation as an individual’s willingness to act. It is described as the tendency to engage in knowledge sharing and it is the result of interplay between an individual belief, attitude, value (ethics and morals), competitive intensity and performance outcomes or rewards for doing so (Turner & Pennington, 2015).

Moreover, research agrees on the importance of trust in knowledge sharing, and that individual competition has a negative effect (Wang & Noe, 2010). Members that fail to understand the value of sharing knowledge can be a problem. Lack of trust and suspicion of people misusing knowledge are also reasons why knowledge sharing can be inefficient (Vuori, Helander & Mäenpää, 2019). If a team member seems to be very capable, other individuals in the network tend to share less knowledge. If the team member, on the other hand, seems honest, fair and follows principles, the knowledge sharing will be encouraged (Wang & Noe, 2010).

Further, interpersonal characteristics affect the knowledge sharing process and include things like your mind and cognition (Wang & Noe, 2010). For example, an individual's job satisfaction and organization commitment foster knowledge sharing through their mindset. Anxiety and fear of negative evaluations lower the motivation to participate in knowledge sharing, while confidence, openness to experience and curiosity create a higher motivation to seek knowledge from other people (Wang & Noe, 2010).

2.3 Opportunity

Turner and Pennington (2015) refer to opportunity as structural factors such as management support,

worker autonomy and pro-entrepreneurial organizational design and culture. According to Wang and

Noe (2010), efficient knowledge sharing is to a high extent a result of team characteristics.



Wang and Noe (2010) claim that a decentralized organization structure is better than a centralized one. Further, the organizational context contains the impact of management support and concludes that rewards in terms of encouragement from the organization are important in order to have an efficient knowledge sharing process. Vuori, Helander and Mäenpää (2019) discuss the barriers that exist within an organization, which result from a bad and unsupportive organization culture.

Organizations that do not have integrated knowledge management strategies and company strategies will experience difficulties in the knowledge sharing process. The lack of leadership and absence of time and space for knowledge sharing is a problem. Instead, the presence of empowering leadership and support for a culture of working together will foster a team to share, which will benefit the knowledge sharing process. Furthermore, diversity in the workplace should, like in any other occasion, not be underestimated (Wang & Noe, 2010).

Wang and Noe (2010) discuss how cultural characteristics are closely related to opportunity. Effective knowledge sharing is obtained if the climate encourages new ideas and focuses on learning from failure. Furthermore, people are less likely to share their own lessons with someone they consider not a proper member of the group (Wang & Noe, 2010). That is one reason why being a multinational organization comes with challenges. Vuori, Helander and Mäenpää (2019) discuss the barriers that come with a global network and claim that geographical distances might be a problem for knowledge sharing. Close relationships inside a network are valuable and the feeling of collectivism is important (Wang & Noe, 2010). Also, if members interact and together understand the value of knowledge sharing, which strengthens the relationship, the trust in the network will increase which results in the reduction of knowledge barriers (Vuori, Helander & Mäenpää, 2019).

Team characteristics influence knowledge sharing among team members from several perspectives.

Examples of aspects positively associated with knowledge sharing are team cohesiveness,

communication styles, empowering leadership and individuals' confidence. Being a minority based on gender, on the other hand, is correlated with members being less likely to share knowledge (Wang &

Noe, 2010). The gender aspect is further discussed by Durbin (2011). She describes that women's networks tend to be less homophilous and broader, and also that women approach networking more from an expressive perspective. That means they tend to appreciate energetic discussions, social interactions and sharing experience (Durbin, 2011).

2.4 Ability

Ability refers to talent, skills and proficiency in a particular related area (Turner & Pennington, 2015).

They explain that ability is constrained by factors like expertise, resources and time capabilities. On



the other hand, ability is promoted by pro-entrepreneurial organizational networks, which provide access and freedom of action to engage in knowledge sharing activities (Turner & Pennington, 2015).

Ability is connected to education and work experience, why individual barriers for knowledge sharing could be the result of differences in experience levels and poor communication skills (Vuori, Helander

& Mäenpää, 2019). Furthermore, lack of time is a barrier that usually occurs. However, a network containing members with similar resources, degree of knowledge and time to spend, has less negative effect on knowledge sharing (Vuori, Helander & Mäenpää, 2019).

The knowledge-specific category presented by Vuori, Helander and Mäenpää (2019) refers to the built-in characteristics of knowledge. The more complex the knowledge is, the more barriers there are to share it. A large network with weak ties between the members is problematic if the knowledge aimed to be shared is complex. Tacit knowledge is harder to explain than explicit knowledge. Apart from explicit knowledge, tacit knowledge can´t be written down and is therefore more difficult to share. Another aspect is that knowledge sharing is prevented if members in the network have to be aware of not sharing critical knowledge, for example if they are constrained by secrecy (Vuori, Helander & Mäenpää, 2019). Wang and Noe (2010) state that if you have unique knowledge, or expertise, you are naturally more likely to share it with the members of the network. To sum up, the ability to transfer knowledge is highly dependent on the characteristics of the knowledge.

2.5 Connection between MOA and knowledge sharing

Literature presents that motivation, opportunity and ability (MOA) drive the knowledge sharing behaviour (Turner & Pennington, 2015). The MOA framework is traditionally applied to a number of areas, like for example management, consumer behaviour and decision-making. However, it has recently been introduced into the area of knowledge creation and sharing processes. If motivation, opportunity and ability exist, so does knowledge sharing. However, the knowledge sharing efficiency depends on the levels of motivation, opportunity and ability – and on how these are intertwined (Turner & Pennington, 2015).

2.6 Knowledge Sharing within Supportive Organizations

One of several dimensions of empowerment is referred to as knowledge, and the conventional way to

perceive knowledge is through formal education. However, this is not the only successful way to

empower people, or more specifically, women (Stromquist, 2015). According to Stromquist (2015),

state-led schools are not always a safe space for women and the necessary “life skills” are not always

taught. Instead, non-formal education programs can perform better in terms of empowerment and

knowledge creation. Kiani, Aghamohammadi and Zafari (2018) state that social support and



empowerment of women is closely related to each other. Investments in social support for women can be seen as an investment in future generations (Kiani, Aghamohammadi & Zafari, 2018).

Robb, Valerio and Parton (2014) present the correlation between supportive organizations, referred to as Entrepreneurial Education and Trainings, and empowerment in terms of job creation, stable income and secure employments. They suggest that the programs should be specifically tailored to their participants and their backgrounds to be successful. Further, they need to include more focus on the business acumen and entrepreneurial mindset since these are vital for entrepreneurial success (but this is rarely included). Lastly, they emphasize on the desire for business community mentorship as one of the crucial factors to successful empowerment through entrepreneurship (Robb, Valerio & Parton, 2014).

Each component in the model will be used to extract information from the data collection. Before continuing to present the empirical data and furthermore use the model above to perform the analysis, the methodology used in this thesis will be declared.

3. Research methodology

The aim of this study is to increase our understanding of knowledge sharing within an entrepreneurial network, with focus on the gender perspective. In order to fulfil the aim, empirical material has been collected through a qualitative method in the setup of interviews. Further, the data has been analysed using the theoretical framework developed for this purpose.

3.1 Case study

A case study of the organization GSWIM, active in Uganda, has been conducted. The empirical data has been collected through qualitative interviews to achieve a good and reliable view over the organization and how they share knowledge. A qualitative method was used since this approach is suitable given that the aim is to identify interviewees’ own experiences (Patel & Davidson, 2003).

The interviews conducted focused on two different parts within the organization where the first part covered an interview with the founder of the organization GSWIM, Lilian Nantume. This was

performed in order to understand perspectives from the board, and to get a better idea of the context in

which the members are active. The second part covered interviews with five active members of

GSWIM, all female business owners in the area of Kampala.


12 3.1.1 Choice of Business case

The GSWIM organization is operating in the field of gender equality and women empowerment, which motivates the choice of having them as business case. The founder of the organization, Nantume, also attended a Capacity Building program in Sweden. Therefore, the organization participates in an extensive knowledge sharing process of several steps. The program is arranged by the Patent and Registers Office of Sweden (PRV) in cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organization, WIPO and financed by SIDA. Since the aim of the study was to increase our

understanding of knowledge sharing within an entrepreneurial network, GSWIM was a suitable case.

Even if the network has some members spread over Uganda, the study was limited to conducting interviews with business women from the city of Kampala. This choice was made with the premise that these businesses have similar opportunities and are therefore reasonable to analyse in the same context. Also, the fact that GSWIM is located and mainly active in Kampala and that the women we got in contact with were all residents of Kampala, resulted in only interviewing women in this area.

Although, some coverage of different parts of Kampala was obtained. Having a wider spread throughout Uganda would have been interesting, but considered the time and scope of this thesis, it was a fair limitation.

3.1.2 Contact person

The founder and project manager of GSWIM, Nantume, as have been the contact person for this thesis. Nantume has helped us to provide the resources needed, and moreover, she has been arranging and facilitating the interviews with the business women. She has enabled us to retrieve most of the necessary data from the field.

3.1.3 Additional contacts

We have been in contact with Patent and Registers Office of Sweden, PRV, and the World Intellectual

Property Organization, WIPO (also engaged with the organization on an international level), who are

both in good relation and communication with GSWIM. Alexandra Bhattacharya has been our contact

person from WIPO, situated at the head quarter of WIPO in Geneva, Switzerland. As a mentor for

Nantume and GSWIM, she had a lot of valuable input for us and during one hour we had a meeting

with her in Stockholm that served as great preparation. She has a lot of knowledge within the area of

Intellectual Property and Gender, as well as great experience with local projects and activities in the

least developed countries. She is one of the participating lecturers of the Capacity Building Program

financed by SIDA, and responsible for several lessons next to the employees at PRV.


13 3.2 Preparations

3.2.1 Choice of respondents

To understand the knowledge sharing process within the organization, individual interviews were carried out with the founder, Nantume, and with five members of GSWIM. The interview structure and composition of questions differed depending on who the interviewee was. Regarding the business women, having group interviews was considered to evoke a discussion that would make it possible to pick up reflections that might not come up in individual interviews (Bell, 2016). However, given the restriction to perform the interviews online, this had to be deprioritized.

The decision concerning which participants were present in each interview was carefully considered.

For example, the presence of the founder of the organization might have prevented the interviewees to speak freely and can therefore affect the reliability (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2012). The goal was to limit the involvement of other people during the interview, but since the interviews were performed online, it made it hard to affect the surroundings.

At the moment of the study, the GSWIM network included about 70 active members that were engaged in businesses that involved farming, fashion and designs, art and crafts, catering, shop stores, transport, construction and a lot of other different kinds of businesses (GSWIM, 2019). The five businesses women interviewed were chosen from different kinds of business areas. A diverse foundation was preferable, since reflections and insights were expected to differ among the business areas. To some extent, the coverage of different parts of Kampala was obtained. Within a big city, we also predicted that answers could differ depending on whether the business is situated in the city centre or in the suburbs.

With the consent of the interviewee, the interviews were recorded. This was not only because the focus enables listening rather than writing down the answers, but also because it added value through the fact that it was possible to use direct quotation afterwards (Bryman, 2013).

3.2.2 Operationalization of theoretical framework

When preparing interview questions, one template was made for the founder of the organization and a

second one for the active members within the network. In general, the templates were structured

similarly, containing central themes and questions covering the most important concepts needed to

answer the research questions (Dalen, 2008). The questions that were meant for the founder of the

organization were adjusted to highlight aspects that would be necessary for us to understand in order



to reflect on relations between members and structures within the organization. This was done to get an overview of the context in which GSWIM operates.

The different themes were first determined by studying the different components of the theoretical framework. Further, based on the themes and the theoretical framework, smaller categorizations of concepts were determined. Moreover, these concepts were used to formulate concrete interview questions, see Table 1. The template served as a tool for conducting a semi-structured interview. For this study, semi-structured interviews were preferable, with a combination of fixed themes but still having the possibility to ask questions (Bryman, 2013).

Table 1. Operationalization of theoretical framework (for the business women).

Themes Categorization of concepts Interview Questions (Business women)

LTO Clear goals


Future development

Explain what your business will look like in 5 years, 10 years.

Realistic vs dream scenario.

Is there an explicit goal within the organization that you are aware of?

Do all members share the same ambitions?

Motivation Interpersonal characteristics Individual mindset

Self- esteem Confidence Attitude

Ethics and morals

Inducement Competitive intensity Rewards



Misusing knowledge sharing Honesty and fairness Commitment

Have you developed as a person since you became a member of GSWIM? How?

What is your opinion about sharing experience with members in GSWIM?

What has been the major outcome of being a part of GSWIM?

What is the main reason for you being an entrepreneur?

Do you consider yourself having equal goals and dreams as the other members in GSWIM?

Can you express yourself as you like with the feeling that you will be accepted within the network?

Is there a supportive environment between the women of GSWIM?

Would you ever hesitate to share your experience within the network? Why?

Opportunity Network attributes Ties within the network Team cohesiveness

Similarities and differences between network members

Can you describe your relation to the other network members?

Have you established new relations within the network?

Do you consider yourself being equal to the rest of the members?


15 Distance, geographical, income levels etc.

Team characteristics Diversity and minorities Gender


Organizational structure Decentralized vs centralized Management support Leadership

Cultural characteristics Climate - “learning from failure”

Space for creativity

How do you keep in contact with GSWIM? With other members?

(More data from background questions)

Can you participate in decision making in the network?

Otherwise, who decides?

What does the management contribute to within GSWIM.

What is the atmosphere like during activities?

Was it easy to be a new member of GSWIM?

Do you talk about failure with members of GSWIM?

Is there room for innovative thinking within GSWIM?

Ability Experiences and skills Knowledge characteristics

- tacit or explicit - sensitive content Educational background Work experiences Talent and skills

Resources available Knowledge degree Time

Is it easy to teach someone else to carry on with your business?

Have you taught someone else in the network something from your own experience? Have you learned something from someone?

(More data from background questions)

Do you consider yourself being equal to the rest of the members in terms of knowledge/resources?

How much time do you spend on your business?

Supportive Organizations

Social support Business community

Content - indirect or direct support


Do you get support from anywhere else?

(If other experiences, supportive organization or formal education) What is the main difference from other experiences compared to GSWIM?

Are all members similarly involved in GSWIM? Are there any

members acting more like mentors?


16 3.2.3 Ethical considerations

The content of our questions connected to empowerment might be considered sensitive for some people. However, most questions are rather focused on the connection to knowledge sharing which is in general not considered a delicate topic. For example, the questions do not explicitly involve money or salary, political opinions or sexual orientations. To ask these kinds of questions, some deeper thoughts about the formulations and the subject of interest should have been done before the

interviews were carried out. Nevertheless, dealing with projects that are infused by a lot of emotions and strong commitment, needs a special kind of treatment and understanding. We have continuously reminded ourselves of the importance to always remain conscious about our differences and to always protect the integrity of ourselves as well as the people we interview.

It has been invaluable to have a communication channel with a contact person in the field from an early stage. With help from Nantume and with appropriate preparations, we have tried our best to recognize most ethical shortcomings before they emerge.

3.2.4 Pilot interview

In order to gather some understanding about the context of GSWIM and the Capacity Building Program that Nantume participated in, we visited the 2019 Capacity Building Program held in Stockholm at the PRV´s office. Apart from observing a few lectures and being introduced to the concepts of the program by employees of PRV, one interview was held there with Bhattacharya. This gave us a better understanding of the GSWIM organization which she has previous experience of being involved with (see appendix for interview template). It also gave us insights of what questions could be valuable to add, and it also brought up discussions regarding which questions might be more sensitive to ask than others. Bhattacharya has experience not only with GSWIM, but with a lot of other case studies and projects in underdeveloped countries. She gave us advice and it served as great preparation before having the first interview with Nantume.

Furthermore, a pilot interview was performed with Nantume before we had interviews with the

members of GSWIM (see appendix for interview template). This made it possible to see whether the

questions were easy to understand or not, if we got the answers we expected, and how many questions

we would be able to ask within the available time. Also, Nantume was able to answer whether the

questions were appropriate or not in respect to family relations, cultural differences and other ethical

topics. Some changes were made before finalising the interview template that was used during

interviews with the business women.



The overall environment for business in Uganda differs quite a lot from what it looks like in the western world. Therefore, before conducting the interviews, we did research on how small-scale businesses work in Uganda. Furthermore, in order to understand the situation for the women doing business in Uganda, we tried to gather as much information as possible about the culture, political situation, gender perspective and the government etc. Since we got some information about the women and their businesses beforehand, we were also able to study the specific area in which their company was active.

3.3 The carrying out of interviews

Interviews with the business women were performed which took about 45 minutes each (see appendix for interview template). The application WhatsApp was used since not all of the women had Skype with internet connection good enough to use video call. To conduct interviews over phone comes with challenges for different reasons. One thing that made the situation more difficult was that the authors of this thesis could not be present in the same room during the interviews because of geographic distance, which complicated the asking of questions. Another thing was the poor internet connection that sometimes interrupted the call. Some of the interviews were therefore postponed so the women were able to find better connection.

Further, disturbing environment as in other family members, traffic and city noise sometimes made it hard to understand the interviewee. Most of the women were in their homes during the interview, which can potentially have resulted in a safer and more comfortable environment. However, it may also have made it more difficult to speak about sensitive topics such as family relationships.

Performing the interviews in Uganda would have been the most desirable, to be able to observe body language and reactions. The second best alternative would have been to perform the interviews with video. Unfortunately, as mentioned none of these alternatives were possible, wherefore we had to settle for performing interviews through voice calls.

English is one of the two native languages in Uganda, next to Swahili, which was considered being an

advantage for us. However, the language was still a hazard since we use English differently. We tried

our best to simplify expressions and questions to avoid misunderstandings. After all, it was valuable

that we recorded the interviews so that it was possible to listen multiple times afterward to better

understand some answers. Supplementary questions were supposed to be used for clarification and to

ensure correct interpretation. However, follow-up questions were sometimes hard to ask due to the

poor connection and misunderstandings.



At the end of each interview, we asked the women if they had any questions to us. Some of them had and they expressed a lot of interest in the study. Also, many of the women expressed a wish that we would come to visit and see the work they do and how they live. Finally, we asked if we could add questions via message if something was not clear of additional questions came up, which nobody saw as a problem. However, this was never necessary.

3.3.1 Summary of interviews

Table 2 summarizes the conducted interviews. One interview was made with Bhattacharya, two interviews were made with the founder Nantume and additionally five interviews was made with members of the network.

Table 2. Summary of conducted interviews.

Interview number

Respondent Type of business

Network- member

Duration Date

1 Alexandra


- - 1 hour November 29th


2 Lilian


Several Founder of GSWIM

1 hour April 7th 2020

3 Lilian


Several Founder of GSWIM

1 hour April 14th 2020

4 Deborah Farming,


Member since the start

45 minutes April 16th 2020

5 Caroline Soap, sandals,


Member since the start

45 minutes April 16th 2020

6 Diana Fashion house Member since

one year

45 minutes April 16th 2020

7 Joan Cakery Member since

the start

45 minutes April 21th 2020

8 Lisha Tailor and

makeup artist

Became a member a few months after the start

45 minutes April 21th 2020


19 3.4 Data analysis

Although having interviews over phone proved to be difficult, the interviews gathered quite a lot of data. A structure was required to be able to analyze the data. One systematic approach that is

commonly used to structure data from qualitative research is the Gioia methodology (Gioia, Corley &

Hamilton, 2013), which was adopted in this study. In order to use this method, all the interviews were fully transcribed into text short after the interviews. Not only the actual words the women said was written down but also their tones and reactions to different questions were noticed, which is preferable according to Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill (2012).

To interpret the interviews in a transparent way, the Gioia methodology divides the data analysed in different stages. Three steps were, one by one, boiling down the large amount of data collected through the interviews, to a more reasonable quantity of dimensions. The first step involved

categorization of concepts. This was done by sorting the transcribed material into different theoretical concepts using colour coding. The second step used these concepts to formulate less numerous themes, which was done by reorganizing every transcribed interview into one document. The final pre-process was to find the ties between these themes in order to developed aggregate dimensions (Gioia, Corley & Hamilton, 2013). Since the theoretical framework and the data now were in the same order, it made it easier to see connections, similarities and differences between them in order to analyse the material. Also, the structure of the interview templates facilitated this process quite a lot.

The time-consuming preparations proved to be worth the effort.

3.5 Trustworthiness

Generally, there is a risk with interviews that answers will be affected by the phenomena social desirability (Bryman, 2013). However, it is of great value to be able to ask unique follow-up questions (Eriksson & Wiedersheim-Paul, 2014). To foster validation and reliability, an explanation of the study and an introduction of the content, was communicated to the women before the interviews. Also, the participants were informed that the participation in the study was voluntary and that they could terminate the interview at any time (Vetenskapsrådet, 2002).

According to Schwandt, Lincoln and Guba (2007), trustworthiness is a concept that can be developed through four different characteristics. These are credibility, transferability, dependability and

neutrality. If taking these concepts into account while performing a qualitative method, the trustworthiness and reliability will increase. In the case study we had interviews with multiple

members in the network. It would have been valuable to also perform participant observation, in order

to increase the trustworthiness and reliability. However, this was not possible due to geographical

distance. Also, a deep description of the preparations and how the interviews were performed has



been presented in order to make the thesis more transparent. This will, according to Lincoln and Guba (1985) increase the trustworthiness.

The study is based on interviews with women from the surrounding area of Kampala. There are probably differences among women doing business in Uganda depending on the location of operation, for example in a big city versus in rural areas. Although we have tried to select different backgrounds of the women, in terms of what kind of business they carry out and where in Kampala they operate, the reader should be aware that the 70 women in the network somehow share circumstances, like background and position in society. This could be a problem in terms of validation if not conscious about it (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2012).

4. Empirical data

The empirical data will begin with a background section about Uganda, GSWIM and the Capacity Building Program, in order to give the reader an insight of the context. Further, the interview data will be presented.

4.1 Background

4.1.1 Uganda

Uganda is located in East-Central Africa and is known for its many natural resources like oil, copper, gold and other non-metallic resources like mica, graphite and limestone. Uganda’s soil is one of the most fertile in Africa and the climate is suitable for agriculture (Owuor, 2019), which is an essential part of the economy and contributes to 72% of the workforce (IndexMundi, 2019).

In 1962, Uganda became independent from Britain. At that time Uganda was one of the wealthiest

countries in Africa, with fertile soil and a lot of resources to refine. Between 1971 and 1979, the

country was under the command of the dictator Idi Amin who got responsible for deaths of

approximately 300 000 people. In the following years, Uganda was ruled under Milton Obote’s

command and the uncivilized leadership continued. After many years of dictatorship, conflicts and

unhumanitarian environments, Uganda got its current leader Yoweri Museveni in 1986. Even though

the county lacks in significant democratic principles, the standard of living and economic growth has

increased (Utrikespolitiska institutet, 2020). However, Uganda is still struggling with poverty and

dissatisfaction with the current leadership has recently increased.



Population density is high in Uganda compared to other countries in Africa. The country has one of the youngest and most rapidly growing populations in the world, with a growth rate of 1.2 million people a year (Mwaniki, 2018). About 25% of the population lives in urban areas and consequently the majority lives in rural areas. Internal disorder and misgovernment have ruined the country’s otherwise good prerequisites (CIA - World FactBook, 2020). Insufficient infrastructure is one of the major holdbacks when it comes to economic growth, along with lack of modern tech and corruption (Utrikespolitiska institutet, 2020). Even though, since 2005, multi-party politics are officially allowed - the restriction of how long the president is allowed to keep his post was, at the same time, erased (Nations online, 2020). In summary, the country’s growth opportunities are restricted because of internal disorder. Another crucial deal for economic growth is to get more women involved in business (UN Women, 2018).

4.1.2 The situation for Women in Uganda

Uganda is a country that has a high level of gender inequalities. The economy has been relatively stable since 2006, but the positive economic development does not include the same effect on gender equalities. The old culture and traditions that have been carried out for many generations are hard to change and women are being discriminated when it comes to succession and inheritance. Women are for example traditionally prevented from owning land, property and money. Also, the attitude against women in Ugandan society and the public institutions changes slowly. Key reforms and laws

regarding family laws and sexual offences against women and children have been debated for several decades and are still pending. In the meantime, violence against women is very common and a survey from 2011 showed that 56% of all the women in Uganda between the age 15-49 have been victims of physical violence at least once since age 15 (UN Women, 2020).

Even though the country has a lot to develop, some progress has been made lately. The Government of Uganda is doing work in the area and is trying to set up legal frameworks, policies and programs in order to protect women and their human rights. For example, the Uganda Constitution prohibits traditions, customs or laws that are against the welfare and interest of women. Also, a third of the ministers in the government are women which is a result of the Uganda Constitutions work (UN Women, 2020).

4.1.3 GSWIM

GSWIM provides a network to motivate women to obtain and sustain businesses. The knowledge that

is being shared includes specific techniques that the business products and services are dependent on,

as well as more general theories about marketing, branding, how to register businesses and customer



care. The meetings and activities occur with different intervals and differ in length. Some trainings run for a few hours, but they also organize retreats that covers a whole weekend. Currently, the network includes about 70 active members that are engaged in businesses that involve farming, fashion and designs, art and crafts, catering, shop stores, transport, construction, and several other kinds of businesses (GSWIM, 2019).

The Swedish Patent and Register Office, PRV, is an organization that works full time with innovation.

More importantly, they are ready to share their extensive amount of know-how with others. An effort to do this is carried out every year through an initiative called the International Capacity Building Program. Representatives from the world's least developed countries are invited to Sweden to be educated within Intellectual Property (IP) as a useful tool to make profit from innovation (PRV, 2018). In 2018, the organization GSWIM came to Sweden to partake in this education. Educating selected representatives from organizations like GSWIM is a great effort, but to reach people locally, there is a need for mutual and collective effort. GSWIM completes the process of sharing knowledge, that PRV started, to individual women locally in the city of Kampala through different activities and events

4.1.4 Capacity Building Program

The focus will be on the last link of the chain in the knowledge sharing process, when GSWIM transfer their knowledge to individual business women locally in the city of Kampala. However, the chain can be considered to start at the Capacity Building Program in Sweden. It is performed by PRV, given to different representatives from 13 different least developed countries every year. WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization, situated in Geneva, Switzerland, is performing the program as a partner to PRV. As an international partner organization, part of their aim is to support the national intellectual property organizations, for example through being involved in programs that are carried out. WIPO also has a gender and diversity specialist working full time with bringing up the issue that IP is underutilized by women (Bhattacharya, 2019).

After a three-week program in Sweden with theoretical lectures as well as workshops, the

representatives go back to their countries and are supposed to make use of the knowledge in a specific

project. The prerequisites can differ quite a lot among the representatives. Resources and conditions in

each country are unequal and to accomplish results can be difficult. Bhattacharya (2019) emphasises

the fact that “successful projects take a lot of effort and a lot of time”. The representatives can be

supported by an institute, a local IP office or a university initiative. During a period of 6 months

before evaluation, it is therefore possible to get support from the involved lecturers in terms of a

mentorship. However, it all depends on the representatives’ motivation and engagement. The founder



of GSWIM, Nantume, was participating in the Capacity Building Program in 2018. She is an example of a representative without any support, taking care of her non-profit organization completely

voluntary and outside of her full-time work. Nantume therefore asked Bhattacharya to be her mentor after listening to her lecture about Gender equality within IP (Bhattacharya, 2019).

With strong commitment, Nantume managed to perform a very successful project with developing her existing women's network in Uganda. Acting as a mentor for Nanume, Bhattacharya has gotten to know her quite well. Nantume is described by Bhattacharya as “a doer that doesn’t take no for an answer, which is why she is a very successful entrepreneur” (2019). When speaking of measuring IP impact and innovation, counting IP registrations is not enough. The reason for recently have putting more focus on the projects and following them up is an attempt to do better. Also, that “it is through the projects there is concrete change made” (Bhattacharya, 2019).

4.2 Interview data

Interviews with five women apart from the founder have been conducted. Below a short description of each woman interviewed is provided, followed by a presentation of the data in the same order as the questions were asked. Worth to mention is that the five women are all active members and several of them have been members since the start of GSWIM.

4.2.1 Business stories


Deborah started her business within agriculture and constructing in 2015. After a beginning with adversity, she got support from her friend Nantume who wanted to start a network to support female entrepreneurs. In the network, established in 2017, Deborah got ideas and inspiration to continue with her own business. Before 2015 she worked as an accountant, which is still her full time job.

Nowadays, the business is in the area of agriculture and she has a pineapple and banana plantation.

She also supports companies in the building sector with construction materials and has one friend employed in her business. The time spent on her own business is during weekends and sometimes in the weekdays if the customers require it. Her educational background is a degree in business

administration and her knowledge about agriculture is mainly from her, at a young age, deceased father.


Caroline has several businesses going on at the same time. Her entrepreneurial life started after she

was fired from her old job in 2016, and in the beginning, it involved producing liquid soap. Getting



orders was tough in the beginning, but nowadays she supplies schools, supermarkets and hospitals along with households. Today the business also involves producing sandals, carpets and earrings, where especially the sandals are very appreciated and easy to sell. Everything is homemade, without the help of machines. Some of the production is made by family members, since a new dream of hers has been developed - to open up a kindergarten. She is currently gathering experience by working full time as an employee at the local kindergarten. Caroline has also been inspired by the GSWIM

network to start her own sharing initiative, to equip others with skills and opportunity to start their own businesses.


Diana started her business within fashion and design in 2015. After realizing that fashion was her dream, she started to teach herself in 2009. Before that she worked as a teacher in secondary school.

Between the years 2011 and 2014, she did a degree in fashion and designing before she started to work on her own fashion house. Nowadays, she produces clothes for many different occasions for children, women, and men. She does everything by hand and works in her business full time. She also has an employee that works in the store. Except from her store, she also offers trainings to students that want to learn about fashion and design. Diana got connected to GSWIM though her aunt and has been a member for a year.


Joan started her baking business in late 2017 after she finished college. She has always had an interest in baking and during college she started to save some money to be able to later focus on her dream.

Together with her friend she began to market herself, and after some time people really wanted her products. Nowadays she makes cakes for different occasions, sells cakes and pastries to shops and has baking classes. Joan also has a catering service and does some farming. Except for having her

business, she works as a medical officer during the weekdays. Therefore, the time she spends on her business is during evenings and weekends.


Lisha is a student studying makeup. She is educated in journalism and mass communication since

before, but she has had a hard time finding a job within the area. Her business revolves around

tailoring and styles and started when she resigned from an old job because of bad conditions. In the

future she hopes to also include more makeup services to her business. The tailoring partly involves

buying already produced t-shirts, and adding new prints. But with her sewing machine, she also

receives other kinds of orders. Either way, she has issues with the capital to buy material, why all

customers have to pay a proportion of the final cost in advance.


25 Lilian

Lilian Nantume is the founder of GSWIM. She has a company together with her husband called Delly Investment that involves various activities. GSWIM has previously been a part of the business but is currently transforming into and NGO to facilitate cooperation with other organizations. The

businesses further comprise transportation services and they are involved in different shops, for example within cosmetics. Lilian is mainly the one running the businesses, since her husband is occupied being a doctor in South Sudan. GSWIM has been supported by the income from the other activities. Lilian also has another work at the intellectual property (IP) office of Uganda called

Uganda performing rights society. However, she is about to quit to be able to put more focus and time on the GSWIM network from now on. She has a bachelor and a master in business administration, and has additionally performed studies within IP. It is the knowledge within IP that has served as the foundation on which GSWIM has been built on, along with the passion to help others. She realized that she learnt a lot from struggling with income for example to pay for education, and that she had experience worth sharing.

4.2.2 Driving forces behind the entrepreneurship

To begin with, we asked the women about the inducements behind their businesses. Diana and Deborah express that they are entrepreneurs mainly because it is a reason for them to work in the area of their passion, but they also mention that apart from earning profit they have a strong commitment to encourage people and that teaching and sharing knowledge is as much of a passion as their actual business area. Deborah tells us that employing others also is an important reason, which Joan and Lisha agree on. They explain that young people and especially young girls are important to focus on so that they can go on and build their own businesses. Joan is also motivated to keep going just by seeing other people progress and succeed, and even better if they have been supported by herself. In countries in Africa, cash is always an inducement according to Caroline, and Deborah confirms that a dream of hers has always been to become rich. She also mentions that another important inducement is to prove that not only men can own a business. Some ladies come from a background where they have not had people to look after them, either they grew up without parents or in a very large family where everybody gets just a small share of attention. Another background story involves leaving your family because of too different opinions. Especially Joan tells us that one driving force of hers is that she does not want to be dependent on other people.

In the beginning of their entrepreneurial career most of the women tell us that they paid someone a small amount of money to be taught within the area they wanted to start a business in. Caroline tells us her story that after getting taught the basics, it was possible to improve the quality and get

certificates for reaching standards and in the end, she became better than the one who first taught her.


26 4.2.3 The first period in GSWIM

Carolina, Joan and Deborah have all been members from the beginning when GSWIM started in 2017. Deborah describes that when she realized the potential of the organization, she wanted to bring other women. Lisha and Diana that both joined the organization later, explain that they have been taken care of very well. The members seem to be very loving and caring for each other and Diana claims that being a new member was never a problem since it was a very welcoming environment.

Several family members have been recruited to the network after a while, and some of the women explain that it was a family member that recruited them.

Most of the women attend all meetings, since they know that they will always gather some new insights or learn something new. They also mention that they are always looking out for new people and friends to join so that they can also get an opportunity to grow. Lisha explains that if friends are only interested in getting money, she tries to spread her point of view, that knowledge is so much better than money since it will last. The membership does not require money so all women that want to be a member, have the opportunity to become one.

4.2.4 Inside the network

Not all the women had a business when they started going to the meetings of the GSWIM network.

Caroline tells us about her first experience with GSWIM and describes how her spirit grew along with woman after woman sharing their business ideas and their stories of how they created things from nothing. She is now one of the members that is acting more like a mentor for others, and has aside from a prosperous business with soap also started up her own smaller version of a women's network only for single moms and widows. In the GSWIM network, the women’s backgrounds differ a lot from each other. Diana explains that since they all have different businesses, most help is through sharing ideas rather than specific knowledge in the subject of their business. Since the business areas differ a lot, so do the skills. However, the surrounding handling of things like customer care,

marketing and branding can be similar, especially after being taught by GSWIM.

All the women in the network describe how they easily can share things with the other members of

the network. Brainstorming is one of the activities that they use during trainings and Lisha claims that

she always comes home with new ideas she has gotten from GSWIM. Caroline explains that thinking

outside the box is something that especially Nantume pushes her to do. Further, Deborah emphasized

that when new members arrive to the network and share their ideas, that is how the organizations

grow and move forward.



The interviewees all agree on that failure is something they talk about a lot, and that most members are willing to share failure with the other members. Caroline describes how GSWIM prepare talks and camps on this subject where a lot of stories are being shared. Further, she portrays that her products were rejected many times in the beginning and that people thought she was crazy. But in GSWIM they talk about how to handle failure and that sharing these stories makes them stronger. Lisha explains how members of GSWIM always tell her that whenever you fail, you can always stand up again. Another reason to share problems within GSWIM, according to Diana, is that it usually leads to getting help to overcome the difficulties that they come across. The women trust each other’s

recommendations and say that encouragement usually results in actions. Diana changed the location of her shop after an initiative from the network. Lisha was encouraged by the other women in the network that she was very good at makeup. She did not think it could be a profession but ended up studying the specific subject.

The board of GSWIM, that consists of 6 people (3 men and 3 women), all have their own businesses or professions on the side. Many of the members describe how the board members are a very

supportive group of people with a lot of experience. They are also willing to share their stories and are participating in many of the activities and trainings that GSWIM organize. Further, the members of the board are naturally involved in decision making and take administrative decisions. They are responsible for finding financial support and connection to other organizations as well as the government. Caroline explains how they help out with the registration of new companies. However, the board does not take all of the decisions themselves.

4.2.5 The major outcomes of GSWIM

The women say that the network has taught them importance of interacting with people. Diana

mentions that she used to be very reserved, but is now open to market and branding herself, and that

she is a lot better at customer care. All of the women explain how important it has been with follow-

up, and that it has been an important aspect of their success that they have felt pushed to always do

and achieve more. Lisha says that being a part of a network of business people is never a bad idea,

and even if you feel like a successful entrepreneur already, there is always worth going to the

meetings because you always gain something. Joan and Lisha both mention that GSWIM has given

them a lot of confidence, and faith to believe in their own ideas. Caroline says that before GSWIM

she was more individually focused but has now learnt to appreciate and understand the power of

teamwork. This is also referred to by Lisha, in terms of always looking for partnerships in every

occasion in a way she did not before, since she now understands the benefits.



Another outcome from the network is friendships. Lisha, who left her family a few years back tells us that she sees the GSWIM network like a new family. Caroline explains that she has met many friends from GSWIM and that they are connected also outside the network meetings. Deborah says that these personal friendships becomes important also in order to have a successful business.

The women tell us that they feel financially supported by the network, since a lot of the members buy each other’s products and help each other spreading the word. But more importantly, they feel supported idea-wise. Not only during meetings, but they also have a very active WhatsApp group where members share ideas and experience continuously. Lisha claims that the network mainly has taught her new skills, that she has gained new interests and got new clients. In the network they seem to trade knowledge with each other, as much as supporting each other by buying the other one´s products. Lisha tells us that she is about to be taught how to bake cakes without paying for the baking class, just because of friendship. In return she is open to teach someone about makeup. Deborah says that she is always open to teach if someone shows interest and that there is no point to be selfish, since sharing will always open up new opportunities that is beneficial for yourself in the end.

Caroline has already taught her family members to carry on with some parts of the business, e.g. the producing part, while she describes that the customer care is still handled by herself. She says that others could probably take care of customer care as well, but her most important asset is the

customers, and someone without the same passion for the products, would not be as good at retaining the customers. Furthermore, customer care is a subject that has been taught and discussed a lot in the network and her family members are not as educated within the subject.

4.2.6 Future plans

Without exceptions, the women get happy when we ask about their future plans. Diana explains how she, within five years, wants to open a fashion school since she was a teacher before. Further, she describes how she wants to equip young people with fashion and designing skills. Lisha expresses how she wants to open a big workshop consisting of a makeup studio, one factory and one tailoring studio to modify already produced clothes. Also, she says that she is not interested in recruiting the most experienced ones. Instead, she wants to employ young girls and boys to help them get

experience enough to continue with their own business later in life. Joan explains how she wants to

open a baking school. She also wants to see the students develop skills so that they are able to open up

their own businesses after attending her school. Deborah has big dreams about being one of the best

entrepreneurs and her goal is to employ a lot of people, mainly women, and the most important focal

point would be to make sure that they are encouraged in the company. Caroline has a dream of



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