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The purpose of this chapter is to examine what small business strategic management and long-term planning involves as practised by successful growth-oriented small…
The purpose of this chapter is to examine what small business strategic management and long-term planning involves as practised by successful growth-oriented small businesses. The aim is to provide insight into the strategic learning, control and development processes, including indicative detail of the underpinning day-to-day practices and actions that make up those processes. Key focus is the overall strategic control activity of more progressive owner managers and their use of an idiosyncratic mentally held ‘strategic planning and thinking framework’ that guides and informs strategic decision-making, strategic adjustment to existing markets, products and processes activities and long-term strategic direction.
The research approach is underpinned and informed by personal construct theory which gives emphasis to the highly complex nature of the task of small business strategic control and highlights the need for a creative and innovative research methodology to facilitate close and detailed investigation of the phenomenon. To this end, a multidisciplinary case study research methodology was developed by the authors to underpin examination of strategic development and planning within micro-, small- and medium-sized businesses.
The chapter enhances understanding of small business strategic management practice in growth-achieving micro and small enterprises. The findings of this research, whilst demonstrating the key role of entrepreneurial learning in small firm strategic control of the uncertain external environment, also provides a multidimensional lens through which to dissect and better understand the small firm strategy development process – drawing upon and integrating grains of truth from the differing schools of management thought embedded in the literature.
The findings of this study also facilitate the addressing of the ‘black box’ of hazy insight within the literature which fails to reveal micro-level fine detail understanding of the managerial and organisational actions and activities that make up strategy process. The authors commence provision of such black box insight within this chapter – this as lead-through to the follow-on chapter which affords specific attention to enhancing understanding of the micro-level fine detail minutia of managerial, organisational and work activities that make up strategy process within small businesses.
The research is of a comparative dimension focussing on small business development within the developed economy context of the UK, the emerging economy contexts of Malaysia and Ghana and the transitional economy contexts of Russia. Thus, time and resource limitations bound the studies.
The purpose of this chapter is to further flesh out the small business strategy insight presented in the previous chapter through focus on the finer micro detail of what…
The purpose of this chapter is to further flesh out the small business strategy insight presented in the previous chapter through focus on the finer micro detail of what is actually done and by who in small business strategic management practice. The authors build forward their previous chapter response to deficiencies of understanding within the strategy and small business literatures, through provision of rich, thick description of best small business strategic management process and practice. And shine a brighter light into what has to date been a ‘black box’ of haze with regard to the fine detail and minutia of managerial, organisational and work activities that make up strategy process and content.
As in the previous chapter, the research approach is underpinned and informed by personal construct theory which gives emphasis to the highly complex nature of the task of small business strategic control and highlights the need for a creative and innovative research methodology to facilitate close and detailed investigation of the phenomenon.
This chapter is of significant practical relevance: offering guiding lenses and informing frameworks with regard to best small business strategic management process – and making explicit the micro-level actions, activities and behaviours which make up that process. These guiding frames are already being used to support growth-seeking owner managers in the UK and Africa. The knowledge base embraces original, valuing-adding work which addresses a major void in the current strategic management and small business literatures and is currently being utilised to help address unemployment and facilitate poverty reduction in Africa and underpin entrepreneurship development worldwide.
Small businesses are ubiquitous across the globe and they form a large part of the enterprise population in most economies. Understanding of the sector remains sketchy…
Small businesses are ubiquitous across the globe and they form a large part of the enterprise population in most economies. Understanding of the sector remains sketchy, despite there being concerted efforts since the 1970s to conduct research to give insight into the behaviour of small businesses.
All businesses have to cope with their external environments, but the resource poverty of small businesses means that they may suffer disproportionately, and they certainly do not have access to the resources, financing and knowhow that large firms have to inform them about the most effective way to manage their resources, minimise threats and optimise opportunities in the environment. This chapter provides a holistic framework to enable deeper understanding of subsequent chapters.
The concept of empowerment has received a great deal of attention in recent years. However, the empowerment knowledge base is predominantly large company‐oriented with little evidence of understanding what empowerment means in a small business context. It is inappropriate to treat the small firm as a microcosm of a large organisation. The small business is qualitatively as well as quantitatively different and this article propounds that it is questionable whether the concept of empowerment and its various dimensions as portrayed in the literature are readily transferable to small businesses. It is suggested that empowering management approaches are key features of successful growth‐oriented small firms but the current body of empowerment literature fails to encapsulate the idiosyncrasies and informalities of the small business operation, and thus convey understanding of the unique and novel forms of empowerment which facilitate sustainable development. Case study insight is used to support these propositions.
The paper proffers a tentative conceptualisation of the “small business strategic learning process”, demonstrating the complexity of the small firm learning and management…
The paper proffers a tentative conceptualisation of the “small business strategic learning process”, demonstrating the complexity of the small firm learning and management task. The framework, built upon personal construct theory and learning theories, is elaborated through the grounding of relevant areas of the strategic management literature in an understanding of the distinctive managerial and behavioural features of the small business. The framework is then utilised to underpin consideration of the concepts of “organisational learning” and the “learning organisation” within a small firm developmental context. It is suggested that whilst organisational learning may be a key and effective small business management approach to underpin sustainable development, the learning organisation, as currently conceived in the mainstream literature, fails to recognise and address the idiosyncrasies, problems and constraints relating to sustainable small business development. There does appear, however, to be great potential for extending understanding of the learning organisation concept into the small business context. An indicative research agenda is suggested.
The contemporary business environment is characterised by unknowable, unpredictable open‐ended change. This article, portraying the small business as a potential unique…
The contemporary business environment is characterised by unknowable, unpredictable open‐ended change. This article, portraying the small business as a potential unique problem‐type, qualitatively as well as quantitatively different from the large company, uses personal construct theory to demonstrate how “complex learning” is an essential, but extremely difficult, process for the effecting of sustainable strategic development of the small firm in the face of an extremely uncertain environment. The utility of rational planning as a vehicle for strategically controlling open‐ended change is questioned and the potential for the adoption of an organisational learning perspective to enhance understanding as to how small firms learn about and act upon open‐ended change is proffered. This is supported by tentative findings of our empirical research into how small firms “complex learn” in practice. In turn this provides the foundations for consideration of the potential role of HRM in supporting the small firm strategy development process in terms of learning about and acting on open‐ended change.
Start-up owners have emerged in recent years as thought leaders in a variety of encouraging ways throughout the business world, changing the game that organisations…
Start-up owners have emerged in recent years as thought leaders in a variety of encouraging ways throughout the business world, changing the game that organisations function worldwide in fascinating ways. They have transformed office culture by embracing flex-time, innovative work spaces, informal networks and work structures among many things. Building a great organisational culture at the early stages of forming a business as in a start-up is about creating an identity. The World Economic Forum community observes that start-ups are social systems which are very attractive for their enhancing of personal creativity and social inclusion. Thus, members of creative start-ups seem to exhibit strong group affiliation and passion for their profession. Based on the assumptions above, the study of start-up workplaces as unique social systems with distinct characteristics is proposed. Drawing on social identity theory as a collective construct was derived by Henri Tajfel and John Turner (Tajfel, 1972; Tajfel & Turner, 1979; Turner, 1982).
This chapter aims to investigate the idiosyncratic bundle of resources, capabilities and personal attributes resulting from the system interactions in the unique organisational context of start-ups (Habbershon, Williams, & McMillan, 2003, p. 452). This chapter considers the need for nurturing of start-up business owners/managers’ entrepreneurial learning capabilities, and highlights the fact that entrepreneurial learning and behaviour is different from other forms of learning and behaving.
Although multiple factors influence how people work, social identity theory could possible serve as a unifying theory of organisational behaviour elements, because it views the organisation as a social system where individual behaviours and attitudes are to a large degree influenced by psychological, behavioural, economic and sociological processes of group formation and membership. Social identity perspectives can shed light on
what and how people think in the early, but very critical stages of organisation formation.
Research in entrepreneurship points out that a heightened sense of self-realisation in individual starting/participating in new ventures is a strong motivator (Triandis, 1989). Engaged and inspired employees perceive their entrepreneurial identity to be central to their self-concept and experience greater levels of passion at their work (Murnieks, Mosakowski, & Cardon, 2014). The result is that the staff is committed to their organisation’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organisational success, with an enhanced sense of their own well-being. For start-up culture is the reflection of everyone’s actions and values in the office – the interactions of everyone in the start-up with suppliers, customers and other stakeholders set the tone for the company’s relations with its external environment and its culture.
Developing a business with like-minded individuals to advance a collective business vision is at the heart of entrepreneurial activity of small and emerging enterprises. Small but highly flexible work groups provide a united voice and a common sense of purpose for individual members (Alpkan & All, 2007). They have the ability to take action to reconfigure or move entrepreneurial resources and activities in company routines quickly and effectively. This is particularly important in times of high uncertainty and volatility as the one we are currently going through in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.