Perceptions of generic strategies of small and medium sized engineering and electronics manufacturers in the UK: The applicability of the Miles and Snow typology

Nicholas O'Regan (Middlesex University Business School, The Burroughs, London, UK)
Abby Ghobadian (Brunel Business School, Brunel University, Middlesex, UK)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Publication date: 1 July 2006

Abstract

Purpose

To present the main findings of a study conducted in manufacturing firms in the UK to determine the applicability of generic strategies to small and medium sized firms (SMEs).

Design/methodology/approach

The Miles and Snow strategic orientation typology was used to examine the emphasis on the factors used to craft strategy and its subsequent impact on organizational performance. The study examined its applicability in two contrasting sectors: engineering and electronics.

Findings

Based on the responses obtained from 194 SMEs, the findings indicate that the main strategic orientation types present in this study are associated with different environment types; prospectors tend to perceive their environment as “dynamic” whereas defenders perceive their environment as “stable”. Distinct differences were found in relation to the emphasis of both orientation types on leadership, culture, strategy, and performance outcomes. Finally, the findings indicate that “prospectors” perform better than “defenders” and are twice as likely to be high performing. Smaller firms are more likely to be “prospectors” compared with firms employing over 100 staff.

Originality/value

The study confirms the applicability of the Miles and Snow typology to SMEs – a domain neglected in previous studies. The findings also depict the association between the attributes of the operating environment, organizational culture, leadership and strategy on both defenders and prospectors and the path to either high or low performance.

Keywords

Citation

O'Regan, N. and Ghobadian, A. (2006), "Perceptions of generic strategies of small and medium sized engineering and electronics manufacturers in the UK: The applicability of the Miles and Snow typology", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 17 No. 5, pp. 603-620. https://doi.org/10.1108/17410380610668540

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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