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Historical and social aspirations: influence of SME key decision makers’ resilience, social skills and stress on attaining firm performance goals

Jenny Gibb (Waikato Management School, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand)
Jonathan M. Scott (Waikato Management School, University of Waikato, Tauranga, New Zealand)
Stephen Teo (Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)
George Thien (Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)
Smita Singh (Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)
Marcus Ho (Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 22 April 2022

Issue publication date: 12 August 2022

582

Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines how some specific psychological characteristics and stress levels of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) key decision-makers (founders/managers) (KDMs) influence firm goal attainment based on two firm aspiration types.

Design/methodology/approach

This study hypothesizes that perceived resilience, social skills (self-promotion, ingratiation, expressiveness, social adaptability), and stress of SME KDMs will differently influence firm performance goal achievement based on firm historical versus social aspirations. IBM AMOS v27 is used to test these hypotheses on survey data of 267 Australian SME KDMs.

Findings

The study reveals that KDMs’ perceived resilience, social skills and stress differentially impact the achievement of firm performance goals when selecting firm-level historical and social aspirations. Resilience and some specific social skills can even have a detrimental effect on achieving firm goals when applying historical and social aspirations. Historical aspirations are based on the firm’s performance history, while social aspirations are based on the performance of a reference group of competitor firms. The differences in the relationship between these characteristics and the two aspiration types are also explained. Furthermore, the study reveals the important role of perceived stress levels in achieving firm performance goals, using both aspiration types.

Originality/value

This study is the first to investigate how the perceived use of some specific psychological characteristics of SME KDMs influence the ability to meet firm performance goals based on the discretionary use of historical and social aspirations and the relationship between these aspiration types. In this context, the paper explains the reasons for the differences and similarities in their use. Thus, this study provides an important empirical contribution to research on the emergent domain of micro-foundational SME goals.

Keywords

Citation

Gibb, J., Scott, J.M., Teo, S., Thien, G., Singh, S. and Ho, M. (2022), "Historical and social aspirations: influence of SME key decision makers’ resilience, social skills and stress on attaining firm performance goals", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 28 No. 6, pp. 1414-1437. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEBR-06-2021-0482

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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