Over years Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) have been struggling to build their competitiveness in retaining customers in the highly dynamic business environment in which they operate. Learning has been identified as one of the strategic weapons that influence the the development of appropriate business practices in a turbulent environment. However, there is scanty development of appropriate business practices in a turbulent environment. However, there is scanty literature that relates learning orientation and customer retention practices in agro-processing MSEs specifically in developing economies like Tanzania. This study examines the influence of learning orientation on customer retention practices. The quantitative research approach and cross-sectional research design were adopted. We obtained a total response of 302 questionnaires distributed to owner-managers of micro and small agro-processing enterprises in Arusha, Morogoro and Dar es Salaam regions in Tanzania. Structural Modelling Equation was used in data analysis. The study established that, learning orientation dimensions of learning orientation were positively and significantly influence customer retention practices except shared vision which posted only a positive relationship with competitor analysis and inter-functional coordination practices of agro-processing MSEs. The results provide implications that owner-managers who wish to form appropriate customer retention practices should enhance their learning orientation by putting commitment to learning, opening their doors to new ideas and knowledge and having a shared share vision towards learning. The study recommends that business practitioners and institutions that oversee and support the activities of micro and small business enterprises in Tanzania need to develop a well-built learning environment to accelerate the learning behaviour, competitiveness and sustainability of these firms.
Citation: Nnko E. and John E. (2022) Learning Orientation and Customer Retention Practices in Micro and Small Enterprises: Lessons from Agro-processing Firms in Tanzania, International Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship Research, Vol.10, No.3, pp.,58-78
Keywords: Learning Orientation, Tanzania, agro-processing, customer retention practices, micro and small enterprises
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