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Organisationsgrößenvor- und -nachteile. Eine strukturierte Auswertung theoretischer und empirischer Literatur



The paper represents a structured survey of theoretical and empirical literature about the dependency of efficiency on organizational size. First the main features of the discussion of (dis-)economies of scale are briefly outlined. The main part provides a comprehensive table listing theoretical studies and their controversial arguments as well as a table containing the empirical findings of selected investigations. The final section sums up the most important results. It is argued that first the verdict on size and efficiency cannot be generalized and rather depends on certain economic conditions, second in many cases, however, there exists a (minimum) optimal plant and firm size (the latter at roughly 500 employees) and third the development of the economic environment within the past 15 years has tended to shift the comparative advantages of efficiency from big, dominating, but bureaucratically paralysed to small and highly flexible firms.
Multinational corporations (MNCs) are in a division of labour with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): on the one hand, globalizing SMEs are increasingly becoming competitors of the MNCs, and on the other hand, they are also network partners for MNCs. For a better understanding of the strategies of MNCs, a closer look on their relationship with globalizing SMEs is required; this is the focus of our paper. Our investigation pertains to the German national business system with its consensual style of capitalism, but some of the results might well serve as hypotheses for other varieties of capitalism as well.
Deutschland benötigt, daran kann kein Zweifel bestehen, mit Blick auf Arbeitslosigkeit, Herausforderungen des postfordistischen industriellen Strukturwandels und Globalisierung mehr Unternehmensgründer und innovative Unternehmer. Nicht zuletzt der neidvolle Blick auf amerikanische Verhältnisse hat in jüngster Zeit das Bewußtsein um einschlägige Defizite der deutschen Wirtschaftsentwicklung in weiten Teilen der Öffentlichkeit geschärft. Dabei sind es allerdings weniger höhere Gründungsquoten, welche das Vorbild der Vereinigten Staaten in den Augen deutscher Beobachter attraktiv machen, als vielmehr die Präsenz von Clustern junger innovativer Unternehmen in verschiedenen Regionen der USA - so im Silicon Valley - und der spektakuläre Aufstieg einer ansehnlichen Zahl von HighTech-Gründungen in den vergangenen Jahrzehnten.
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Hypotheses and analyses dealing with the expansion of small businesses are usually carried out over relatively short periods of time. The patterns drawn from these examinations, e.g., on the question of specific differences in the growth of size, are usually influenced by configurations of the overall economy and limit the realization of regular processes to the phases they are based upon. A second disadvantage lies in most cases in the fact that data sources are used for the empirical analyses that do not cover the economic system as a whole nor for all sizes of establishments. This study attempts to present the development of the sizes of establishments in Germany over a period of more than one hundred years (1882 to 1987) and thus avoids the narrow perspective of previous examinations. It becomes evident that this development does not take a continuous course; instead, it follows a wave pattern. Since this discontinuous development pattern is common to almost all sectors, it appears to be a general phenomenon. This study reveals that the small establishments with more than five employees, contrary to most theoretical assumptions, are of utmost importance even when considered over a long period of time. The growth of small establishments in recent years, observable in all sectors, may not be a unique phenomenon; however, in view of an overall growth of employment and the simultaneous shrinking of large establishments, it occurs under a new constellation.
The impact of firm size on innovation activity was investigated in detail on the basis of firm data for Swiss manufacturing. The study includes estimations of a model of innovation behavior with firm size as an additional explanatory variable, an analysis of the relation between R&D expenditures and firm size in total manufacturing and in several 2-digit industries, as well as exploration of the size-dependence of model variables. No evidence was found for the existence of economies of scale in the innovation activity in Swiss manufacturing. On the other hand, we were able to gather several pieces of information pointing to a size-specific orientation of the innovative activity. Copyright 1997 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
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