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Challenges facing small-firm managers in growing manufacturing firms
Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7139-7338
2015 (English)In: Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, ISSN 2192-5372, E-ISSN 2192-5372, Vol. 4, 9Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to better understand the management challenges facing managers in small growing firms.

Design/methodology/approach

Empirical data have been collected in Sweden through structured observations (approx. 20,000 min) of the working days of six top managers in fast- and six managers in slow-growing small manufacturing firms in order to compare managerial behaviour in two different contexts.

Findings

Managers in small firms are engaged in many different activities, but a small number of activities tend to take up the majority of the managers’ time. These activities can be classified as either operational or administrative. There are notably small differences (both in variance and differentiation) between the behaviours of managers in fast- and slow-growing firms; actually, there are more similarities than differences. There is also surprisingly little time spent by the managers on strategic work, even in the group of fast-growing firms. This might explain why growth and innovation in many cases come to a halt or even decline in these firms and represents such a challenge for the managers when they do not prioritize strategic work.

Originality/value

The study shows that managerial work in small firms is characterized by a generic behaviour and that the managers mainly use a habitual and limited behavioural repertoire. Many managers have difficulties in changing their mainly operational and administrative behaviour and thus the underlying strategy of the firm. They are ‘stuck’ in a path-dependency mindset, even though the development of the firm might require another strategy taken by the manager, as a response to meet environmental demands. © 2015 Tell

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Heidelberg: Springer Berlin/Heidelberg, 2015. Vol. 4, 9
Keyword [en]
Managerial strategies, Observational studies, Habitual and limited behaviour, Path dependency, Innovation, Networks
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-29746DOI: 10.1186/s13731-015-0023-7OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-29746DiVA: diva2:868567
Funder
Knowledge Foundation
Available from: 2015-11-11 Created: 2015-11-11 Last updated: 2015-11-11Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf