Gender, Management Style, and the Flexibility of Informal Sector Enterprises in The Period of Covid-19: The Case of Agri-Food Microenterprises in Mali


  • Noufou Sanogo Cheikh Anta Diop University
  • Fatou Diop Sall Cheikh Anta Diop University



Covid-19, agri-food microenterprise, flexibility, gender, management style


As in any organization, microenterprises owe their survival to their ability to adapt to changes in their environments. Informal microenterprises in Mali, particularly those run by women, also have to deal with the economic upheaval caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. This research is exploratory and aims to understand the adaptation of informal microenterprises run by women in a crisis context. To do so, a multiple case analysis is conducted. The results reveal the flexibility factors of the actions undertaken by informal women entrepreneurs to face the Covid-19 crisis. The perseverance of these women and their management style based on relational skills, as well as their mastery of the culinary arts linked to their role of "expert of the kitchen" in Malian society allowed their business to adapt to the context of the crisis. In addition to these individual characteristics and socio-cultural factors, women entrepreneurs adopted strategies such as adjusting working hours and diversifying into new activities. This research contributes to the literature by highlighting the combined effect of individual factors, gender-related socio-cultural factors, and management style on microenterprise flexibility in times of crisis.

Author Biographies

Noufou Sanogo, Cheikh Anta Diop University

Noufou Sanogo (PhD student in Management, Cheikh Anta Diop University, Dakar, Senegal) is member of the LARMS Lab (Center for Research in Business and Development - at the Department of Management, Cheikh Anta Diop University) and the LAREM-DEC Lab (Center for research and studies in management and decentralization – at University of Social Sciences and Management, Bamako, Mali). He works on the sustainability of agri-food microenterprises run by women in the informal sector.

Fatou Diop Sall, Cheikh Anta Diop University

Fatou Diop Sall (PhD, University of Cheikh Anta Diop at Senegal) is Full Professor of Management and head of the LARMS lab (Center for Research in Business and Development – at the Department of Management). She works on culture and African consumer behavior, Strategy of African small businesses, Innovations in African shopping malls, market orientation of African firms. She has published in journals such as International Business Research, Journal of International Marketing, Journal of Services Marketing, Ecological Economics , International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Management International, Recherche et Application en Marketing, Management & Avenir, Revue Internationale des Sciences Commerciales : Marketing & Communication, La Revue  des Sciences de Gestion, ….and she has participated in several conferences such Marketing Trends, Business and Entrepreneurship in Africa, Journée de recherche sur les pays d’Afrique, Journées Scientifiques du Marketing,… She is the author/co-author of ten books chapters in Management. She is from Senegal.


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How to Cite

Sanogo, N., & Sall, F. D. (2023). Gender, Management Style, and the Flexibility of Informal Sector Enterprises in The Period of Covid-19: The Case of Agri-Food Microenterprises in Mali. Journal of Comparative International Management, 26(1), 98–122.



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