Building Customer-Centric and Market Driven Firms Through Management Consulting: A Field Experiment with SMEs in Nigeria
Last registered on April 06, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Building Customer-Centric and Market Driven Firms Through Management Consulting: A Field Experiment with SMEs in Nigeria
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004045
Initial registration date
March 26, 2019
Last updated
April 06, 2019 3:19 PM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
World Bank
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Stanford University
PI Affiliation
Stanford University
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2016-02-09
End date
2020-06-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Many small firms lack the managerial capital (e.g., business skills in marketing, finance, etc.) needed for firm growth. One approach in many development programs has been to provide small firms with more prescriptive consulting services focused on implementation of a defined set of management practices, then examine the impact on financial performance (e.g., profitability, productivity). However, there has been limited research on understanding the role of more progressive consulting services aimed at dynamic business changes and the effect on marketplace performance (e.g., sales, sales growth). Consequently, there has not yet been a study investigating the impact of marketing-linked consulting interventions on the top-line of small firms – including measuring main effect outcomes such as sales and understanding how different mechanism channels might drive this growth. For instance, we know little about how to stimulate intermediate outcomes more aligned with marketplace performance such as generating demand via greater customer closeness, expanding customer reach via new geographies, channels or segments, and changing the customer offering to better meet needs and preferences – in other words the Customer Centricity of a firm. We therefore test the impact of more progressive, dynamic consulting services on firm sales and marketplace-related metrics through a randomized experiment with Nigerian entrepreneurs. The sample of small and medium firms will be randomized into three groups: a control group, a group given business training for the owner and a group given consulting services. Impacts on business practices, firm sales and employment growth, market growth and change in customer centricity will then be measured to determine the most effective way of building skills in SMEs.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Anderson, Stephen, Rupali Kaul and David McKenzie. 2019. "Building Customer-Centric and Market Driven Firms Through Management Consulting: A Field Experiment with SMEs in Nigeria." AEA RCT Registry. April 06. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/4045/history/44746
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Firms will be randomly assigned to a control group or one of two interventions: business training, business consulting
Intervention Start Date
2017-01-16
Intervention End Date
2018-02-15
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
In the short-term, we are interested in which program has the most impact on business practices
In the longer-term, key outcomes are business survival, profitability, sales, and employment. Our primary outcome variables are metrics related to growth in top-line performance – such as sales, change in sales, return on employees or assets, etc.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The pre-analysis plan will describe how these outcomes are defined and constructed
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Our secondary outcomes include a broader set of effects typically studied in the literature – e.g. profits, firm survival, firm employment, firm registration status.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
The pre-analysis plan will describe how these outcomes are defined and constructed
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The sample of firms was randomly assigned at the individual level into three experimental groups, stratified by induction workshop . Firms are randomly allocated to one of the two treatments, or to a control group - 50% of the firms were allocated to the control group, 25% to consulting, and 25% to training.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by computer, stratified by enrollment batch.
Randomization Unit
Firm
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
The number of clusters is the same as the number of units. It is 1010 firms.
Sample size: planned number of observations
1010 firms
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
The sample size allocation across the 3 groups is 50% in control and 25% to each treatment arm -
Control - 505 firms
Business Training - 252 firms
Business Consulting - 253 firms
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
See pre-analysis plan.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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