Title: Strategy formulation in SMEs: indications from a longitudinal study

Authors: Lawrence C. Bellamy

Addresses: Leeds Business School, Leeds Metropolitan University, Headingley Campus, Leeds, LS6 3QS, UK

Abstract: The process of planning organisational strategy has been an important subject of academic debate since the 1960s, with thrusts made specifically towards Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) since the 1970s. However, despite the popularity of the subject as a field of study, the outcomes of the discussions are inconclusive and in many instances contradictory. This paper seeks to address, through the use of a multiple cross-sectoral longitudinal case study approach, and to contribute to the debate through using modified elements of mainstream strategic management literature as a framework to reflect upon the strategy formulation processes in SMEs. The complex and contingent nature of strategy formulation processes is highlighted by the results of the present study, wherein a diverse blend of factors employed in organisations is identified. Overall there is some agreement with previous studies noting the emergent approach to strategy formulation, albeit strongly represented by entrepreneurial, cognitive and learning processes in operation. This is irrespective of any prescriptive or planned approaches to strategy formulation, which give way to emergent processes in the turbulent environment that SMEs face.

Keywords: small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; strategy formulation; planning; small business; organisational strategy; strategic management.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2009.025697

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2009 Vol.8 No.4, pp.534 - 549

Published online: 23 May 2009 *

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