Title: A taxonomic approach to studying the performance of manufacturing SMEs

Authors: Louis Raymond, Josee St-Pierre, Marie Marchand

Addresses: Institut de recherche sur les PME, Universite du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres, P.O. Box. 500, Trois-Rivieres, QC, G9A 5H7, Canada. ' Institut de recherche sur les PME, Universite du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres, P.O. Box. 500, Trois-Rivieres, QC, G9A 5H7, Canada. ' Institut de recherche sur les PME, Universite du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres, P.O. Box. 500, Trois-Rivieres, QC, G9A 5H7, Canada

Abstract: In this paper, we propose a taxonomic approach to organisational performance, that is, a holistic, multidimensional and integrated approach for a deeper understanding of the performance management task faced by SME owner-managers. The first research objective is to identify performance configurations or gestalts that allow one to characterise manufacturing SMEs in a meaningful and eloquent manner with regard to their organisational performance. The second objective is to determine the extent to which these configurations are conditioned by the environmental and organisational context in which performance is managed. To answer these questions, the results of an empirical study of 205 Canadian manufacturing SMEs are presented. Three configurations are found, that is, global performers, gazelles, and mature performers. These configurations are characterised and contextualised, the key finding being that a holistic perspective on performance is particularly useful in apprehending the behaviour of SMEs.

Keywords: organisational performance; small and medium-sized enterprises; manufacturing SMEs; gestalt; performance configuration; taxonomy; performance management; Canada.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBPM.2009.030951

International Journal of Business Performance Management, 2009 Vol.11 No.4, pp.277 - 291

Received: 19 Jan 2009
Accepted: 01 Oct 2009

Published online: 14 Jan 2010 *

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