Methodology and Research Results

First, a ten-member international expert panel comprising entrepreneurs and experts in strategic management from Czech, Slovak, Swedish and Finnish universities defined the activities or other aspects related to strategic management which SMEs can benefit from implementing. The level of feasibility was determined based on the operational specifics of SMEs, which were primarily a lack of: time, financial resources, organic management etc.

The second step involved conducting phone surveys with Czech, Slovak, Swedish and Finnish entrepreneurs, owners or managers of SMEs. Questioning was conducted using a structured and validated survey, the aim of which was to determine to what extent their company engaged in activities/aspects typical for strategically managed companies. In total, over 1000 owners and managers of SMEs participated in the questionnaire. SMEs were defined as companies with a turnover of 1-50 million EUR and an employee count between10-250. The questions targeted several areas:

AREA 1 – Does the company have a long-term strategy which is, from the respondent’s point of view, realistic, concise, and generally accepted by other members of the company, contributing to its successful implementation?

AREA 2 To what extent does the company operate intuitively while simultaneously working with hard strategic data?

AREA 3 – To what extent does the company systematically manage strategy implementation?

AREA 4 – To what extent does the company monitor or revise its strategy?

AREA 5 – If the business in question is a family company, does it take strategic specifics into consideration? (Especially finding a balance between the needs of the family and company, as well as intergenerational transfers, where applicable.)

Respondents were presented with statements which were to reflect their general stance on individual items. Respondents selected a response on a scale from 1-5, thus expressing their level of agreement from “strongly agree” (1) to “strongly disagree” (5). Generally speaking, higher values in responses to these statements indicate that the respondent is experiencing problems or shortcomings in that given aspect of strategic management.

Each surveyed aspect was selected in order to serve as a realistic standard for SMEs that are considered as being strategically managed. Responses with a value of 2.0 and higher (orange fields in the chart) were assessed as indicating minor weaknesses in the area of strategic management, while a value of 2.5 and higher (red fields) indicated more serious weaknesses.

Below is an overview of the average results for the main (selected) statements regarding the aforementioned areas.

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International Research on Strategic Management in Small, Medium-Sized and Family Companies