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How competitiveness factors propel SMEs to achieve competitive advantage?

Shirzad Farhikhteh (Department of Management, Faculty of Administrative Sciences and Economics, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran)
Ali Kazemi (Department of Management, Faculty of Administrative Sciences and Economics, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran)
Arash Shahin (Department of Management, Faculty of Administrative Sciences and Economics, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran)
Majid Mohammad Shafiee (Department of Management, Faculty of Administrative Sciences and Economics, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran)

Competitiveness Review

ISSN: 1059-5422

Article publication date: 31 January 2020

Issue publication date: 13 May 2020

1056

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to assess the contribution of competitiveness factors in how small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) would access competitive advantage (CA) by focussing on industry structure and devise a conceptual model thereof.

Design/methodology/approach

The enterprises from three industries consisting of knowledge-based, single-use medical device producers and construction stone cutting each with different structures were assessed. The method is qualitative and quantitative where grounded theory and exploratory factor analysis (EFA) are applied. The initial survey involves 36 deep semi-structured interviews with some of the top managers of each of the three selected industries and a questionnaire distributed among 158 individuals with 46 structured questions.

Findings

The findings indicate that the micro-competitiveness factors are more contributive in achieving CA than macro factors as follows: in knowledge-based enterprises, customer relationship management (CRM), goods/services features and knowledge management are the most important variables. As to single-use medical device production industry, the sales force, sales promotion, and CRM are the most effective factors. Regarding construction stone-cutting industry, quality of the stone, sales promotion, and advertisement play the same role. The results of the EFA indicate that the three impressive factors, including capabilities of the enterprises, strategies of the enterprises and macro factors, are the extracted factors.

Practical implications

The findings here would assist SMEs’ managers in identifying the most essential factors in accessing CA.

Originality/value

The innovation of this study is that although there exist many studies on SMEs and their CAs, this study seeks the models of CA among SMEs in industries with different structures.

Keywords

Citation

Farhikhteh, S., Kazemi, A., Shahin, A. and Mohammad Shafiee, M. (2020), "How competitiveness factors propel SMEs to achieve competitive advantage?", Competitiveness Review, Vol. 30 No. 3, pp. 315-338. https://doi.org/10.1108/CR-12-2018-0090

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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