Title: Collective strategy of SMEs and CEOs' perceptions: the case of the flax industry in the North of France

Authors: Said Yami

Addresses: University of Montpellier, University of Montpellier I, ISEM Espace Richter, Bat. B, Rue Vendemiaire, CS 19519 – 34 960 Montpellier Cedex 2, France

Abstract: The study of industrial chains| strategies has privileged large companies for a long time. However, a more realistic view must also take into account small and medium-sized companies, which are present in great number. Due to proximity effects, there are specific modes of structuring and co-evolution. We illustrate this idea with the case of the flax industry in the North of France, and we emphasise the problems arising from the construction of a collective strategy decided deliberately by the pilot authority of the industry, made up essentially of companies of small size. Indeed, the analysis of CEOs| speeches in this industry (17 firms representing whole industry) shows that, even if the pilot authority of the flax industrial chain decides to implement a collective strategy accepted, in its principle, by whole economic actors and their professional representations, the success or failure of such an initiative rests mainly on the perceptions actors have of their environment.

Keywords: collective strategies; cognitive perspective; CEO perceptions; flax industry; France; small and medium-sized companies; SMEs.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2008.016589

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2008 Vol.5 No.2, pp.143 - 156

Published online: 11 Jan 2008 *

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