The Strategic Work of SMEs: A ‘Strategy as Practice’ Study
Previous research regarding the strategic work of SMEs is scarce and the research that does exist explains that SMEs do not spend much time on strategic planning. As such, our mission has been to investigate and examine more closely on how SMEs work with strategy and why. In our study, we have focused on identifying and analyzing the strategic practices, practitioners and praxis of SMEs. Our findings have shown that SMEs work routinely with certain practices that have been standardized and institutionalized in today’s society, such as: weekly meetings, quarterly strategic meetings and annual board meetings. We have also found that practitioners in SMEs work more cross-functionally than what is experienced in larger corporations. SMEs plan and revise their strategies continuously as the market is rapidly changing which seemingly is an effect of globalization. This has also engaged the board of directors and the management teams and driven them to become more flexible, proactive, and strategically aware of the immediate threats and opportunities for the company in the future, which may also serve as the main driver for why SMEs spend more time on strategic planning than previously. Our findings also indicate that SMEs use strategic tools that are also very common in the marketplace, such as: benchmarking, SWOT analysis and financial analysis. These tools are mainly used by the management team in order to meet certain goals that are set by the board of directors. However, questions arise of why the management team typically are the only ones who perform the strategic work at SMEs and why certain strategic practices are performed over others.
McS in Mangagement