Strategic frameworks and tools of analysis have been the subject of much academic debate over the last 20 years. This paper reviews the main approaches to strategic management and, by presenting the results of a survey of 159 small and medium sized enterprises selected from both the service and manufacturing sectors, demonstrates a divide between the theoretical concepts and the practical realities of strategic planning. While there are strong indications of business planning among the organisations surveyed, there is less evidence of strategic thinking except among larger businesses. Even in this latter group there are only a few instances where the recognised tools of strategic management appear to play a role in planning, the exception being internal financial analysis, which is widely undertaken.
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