Purpose – The paper aims to examine the management practices of owner-managers of small businesses seeking to grow their firms. It seeks to better understand their strategic thinking in relation to internal and external environmental issues.Design/methodology/approach – A sample of 204 owner-managers who had indicated their desire for growth was surveyed using a questionnaire developed from earlier research that examined their strategic and operational behaviour. Follow-up discussions over their results were conducted face-to-face. Data were analysed using confirmatory factor analysis and discriminant analysis.Findings – Firms that possessed formal written business plans were found to be more likely to have stronger support network partnerships, formal quality assurance and the ability to lead change among employees. A relationship was found between an above average level of annual sales turnover and the personal vision of the owner-managers.Research limitations/implications – Although the sample was atypical, in that it was comprised of owner-managers who had a growth orientation, the study suggests that owner-managers who have a strong growth orientation are likely to have an enhanced sense of their strategic vision, and the ability to communicate this vision to their employees.Practical implications – The findings in this paper suggest that owner-managers from small firms should seek to benchmark their business against industry best practice, but that such benchmarking must be supported by a clear strategic vision and the capacity to communicate this vision to others, particularly employees.Originality/value – The literature relating to strategic thinking and behaviour within small firms remains underdeveloped, and this paper provides valuable insights into this area.
|Journal||International journal of entrepreneurial behaviour & research|
|Publication status||Published - 2009|