Strategic planning in smaller enterprises – new empirical findings

Sascha Kraus (Department of Entrepreneurship, University of Oldenburg, Oldenburg, Germany)
Rainer Harms (Department of Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship, University of Klagenfurt, Klagenfurt, Austria)
Erich J. Schwarz (Department of Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship, University of Klagenfurt, Klagenfurt, Austria)

Management Research News

ISSN: 0140-9174

Publication date: 1 June 2006



To analyze the performance implications of essential elements of strategic planning (time span, formalization, frequency of control, and use of planning instruments) in smaller enterprises in a simultaneous way.


The main methods being used for this article were a thorough review of literature for the development of hypotheses and a logistical regression analysis for the empirical evaluation. The study is based on a representative sample of small Austrian enterprises (n = 290).


Planning formalization has a positive and highly significant impact on the probability of belonging to the group of growth firms, whereas other aspects of strategic planning (time horizon, strategic instruments, and control) did not contribute to performance.

Research limitations/implications

Employee growth has been used as an indicator for firm performance. Other indicators (e.g. sales growth, profitability, and subjective evaluation of the entrepreneur) might be used to draw a more detailed picture. Additionally, dichotomizing the dependent variable has some weaknesses. Furthermore, only a limited number of industry categories have been controlled for.

Practical implications

Practitioners might want to emphasize formal strategic planning in order to enhance the probability of performance. Also, they might want to regard the business plan as a management and learning tool rather than as a pure means to generate funding.


This paper is the first to analyze different dimensions of strategic planning in small firms simultaneously. Additionally, it is one of only very few studies outside of the Anglo‐American realm, which might be a help especially for European SMEs (small and medium‐sized enterprises).



Kraus, S., Harms, R. and Schwarz, E. (2006), "Strategic planning in smaller enterprises – new empirical findings", Management Research News, Vol. 29 No. 6, pp. 334-344.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.