Developing a strategic framework in small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs)

Elshamly, Amina B M (2013) Developing a strategic framework in small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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Abstract

Aims: The purpose is to understand the strategy process approach within SMEs to gain a better understanding of how a SME performs the strategy process. The research aims to develop a strategy process framework through the findings of a case study within a SME, by comparing those findings with the existing literature. Methodology: The research paradigm is moderate constructionism that adopts first a deductive approach to obtain the required theoretical knowledge of how strategy process (phases, activities, and tools) function and how they have been used within empirical studies, with a specific focus on case studies in SMEs. This is achieved through the establishment of a conceptual framework of the strategy process including phases and activities. Second, an inductive approach is adopted to induce from the research findings how the strategy process of the SME evolves. This mixture of deductive and inductive approaches is known as abductive. The research adopts an abductive approach culminating in a strategy process framework based on the Balanced Scorecard (BSC), the findings of the case study, and the literature. The research strategy is a single case study using semi-structured interviews during which the interviewer conversationally obtained the required information. This was complemented by documentation evidence. The data analysis process used thematic analysis and an enumeration approach. Results: Whilst the literature lays out a systematic, sequential process, the picture presented by the case study in a SME is somewhat different. The SME was involved in several different aspects of strategy as defined in the literature review, including several phases of the strategy process, and the activities within each of these phases. Some activities were more frequently performed than others, in a very ad-hoc manner. Moreover, The SME did not have a coherent strategy process. The process that the SME uses is messy; it is not systematic; it is not sequential and is not clear. These results are incorporated in a revised conceptual framework to reflect the strategy process actuals used within the SME of the present study. The reasons that explain the finding and the need of the framework may be summarized as: Ambiguous communication of information, Inability to manage development, innovation without a flexible approach, a lack of systematic methods for defining strategy, short-term cash flow issues, and high risks in the SME. Originality/value is contribution to knowledge (theory and empirical): First: a comprehensive literature review investigated and extended the strategy process phases and activities literature, by establishment of a conceptual framework of the strategy process including phases and activities. Second: this conceptual framework was revised based on these findings to reflect the strategy process actually emplaced within the SME in the present study, this aided an overall understanding of the theory of the strategy process. Third: due to the lack of formal strategy the SME had much ‘emergent’ strategy, which it failed to deal with effectively. Normatively, it should work to overcome this, by implementing a more coherent and formal approach to the strategy process framework (using the BSC framework with support of other strategic tools [QFD and SWOT analysis]. Fourth: the methodological implementation of the research paradigm of moderate constructionism and validation through crystallization.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Davies, Barrybdavies@glos.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Gear, Tonyagear@glos.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Uncontrolled Keywords: Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), Business strategy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > Business School > Business and Human Resource Management
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2014 11:20
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2017 12:10
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/454

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