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Crisis and entrepreneurship in Greece: Present, past and evolving trends


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The current global socioeconomic crisis and restructuring brings various transformations to the dynamics of entrepreneurship. The competitive capabilities of survival of the different socioeconomic systems in globalization also determine the overall global development prospects. Within the context of the particular Greek structural crisis, this paper attempts to highlight how the entrepreneurship crisis is structurally evolving within the Greek socioeconomic system. In this perspective, this article explores the evolution of the Greek business environment, by highlighting the structural morphology of the Greek entrepreneurial ecosystem and noting the required adaptation for the Greek enterprises in “Stra.Tech.Man” terms (synthesis of strategy-technology-management).
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6th International Conference on Applied Economics “INSTITUTIONS & THE KNOWLEDGE
This is a pre-print version with minor editing changes.
Crisis and entrepreneurship in Greece: Present, past and
evolving trends
1. Charis Vlados
Department of Economics, Democritus University of Thrace, Komotini, Greece
2. Dimos Chatzinikolaou
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Economics, Democritus University of Thrace,
Komotini, Greece
Abstract: The current global socioeconomic crisis and restructuring brings various
transformations to the dynamics of entrepreneurship. The competitive capabilities of survival
of the different socioeconomic systems in globalization also determine the overall global
development prospects. Within the context of the particular Greek structural crisis, this paper
attempts to highlight how the entrepreneurship crisis is structurally evolving within the Greek
socioeconomic system. In this perspective, this article explores the evolution of the Greek
business environment, by highlighting the structural morphology of the Greek entrepreneurial
ecosystem and noting the required adaptation for the Greek enterprises in Stra.Tech.Man
terms (synthesis of strategy-technology-management).
Keywords: Global socioeconomic crisis; Entrepreneurship crisis; Greek socioeconomic crisis;
Stra.Tech.Man approach
1. Introduction: Crisis, global restructuring and entrepreneurship
Nowadays, it has become increasingly evident that in order to comprehend the current crisis
and restructuring of globalization (Aglietta, 2010; Corm, 2013; Graz, 2013; Sapir, 2011; Servet,
2010), in a balanced and valid way, it is imperative to overcome a static or recursive
perception of reality. Hence, every fragmentary approach of the international economic
dimensions of globalization cannot be considered adequate. On the contrary, it seems that
the study of the phenomenon of crisis in globalization needs to constitute a complex and
interdisciplinary field of research (Augsburg, 2010; Jacobs & Frickel, 2009).
And this happens because globalization was and remains an inexhaustible dialectic
socioeconomic phenomenon, a socioeconomic reality under constant evolutionary
transformation, which inevitably reproduces within its core the limits and the perspectives of
all the entities which shape and reshape it incessantly (Adda, 2006; Chavance, 2012; Dulong,
2012; Lahire, 2014; Moreau Defarges, 2003; Norrie, 2009).
The dynamics of crisis is still a scientific discipline that remains ambiguous and controversial
(Amable, 2017; Vlados et al., 2018). However, the current global crisis brings to the foreground
June 2019
6th International Conference on Applied Economics “INSTITUTIONS & THE KNOWLEDGE
the necessary structural transformation of the global socioeconomic reality while imposing an
organic and irreversible procedure that drastically changes the global system (Robert &
Yoguel, 2016; Scazzieri, 2018).
Under these circumstances, the meaning of entrepreneurship per se evolves into a new,
transformed context (Endres & Woods, 2010; Mack & Mayer, 2016). The capitalist firm is a
living socioeconomic organism, a dialectic socioeconomic entity, which forms and reforms
systematically the environment in which it gets born and survives (Iansiti & Levien, 2004;
Moore, 1997). And this evolutionary perception of the capitalist firm breaks down every
relation to the conventional mechanistic neoclassical interpretation, namely, a consideration
that assumes that the capitalist firm is a simple static transformational mechanism with
quantitatively defined inputs and outputs (Cahuc, 1998; Favereau, 1989; Gabrié & Jacquier,
1994; Hodgson, 1998; Holmstrom, 1999; Holmstrom & Roberts, 1998).
On the contrary, this article perceives the firm as an active subject and co-creator of the
socioeconomic systems that host its action, in a global inter-sectorial level (Mann, 2011;
Saviotti & Pyka, 2004). Thus, a realistic interpretation of firm dynamics and transformation is
critical for the study of the level of development/underdevelopment of any socioeconomic
system, in any spatial level of analysis.
In this context, the concept of competitiveness and its claim seems to become an issue of
particular importance (Bhawsar & Chattopadhyay, 2015; Peneder, 2016). It also becomes
evident that the systematic interpretation of competitiveness incorporates and synthesizes
both the firm dynamics and the socioeconomic fields that host it, along with the inter-sectorial
structures formed in a global level (Crozet & Lafourcade, 2009; Gilli, Mazzanti, & Nicolli, 2013;
Hidalgo & Hausmann, 2009).
Therefore, this study conducts a critical review of the respective literature by focusing on how
the Greek socioeconomic system, and particularly the entrepreneurship in Greece, is
confronted with its systemic competitive deficiencies and its particular opportunities inside
the dynamics of the emerging new globalization. The main question is summarized as
follows: How has the entrepreneurship evolved in Greece during the last decades?
The answer given in the current work is expected to form the basis for future study on the
development/underdevelopment path and the prospect of the Greek business environment.
Towards reaching this conclusion, the methodology of this study goes through the following
steps, conducting a critical review of the respective international literature:
(a) It investigates the entrepreneurship crisis, focusing on the case of Greece;
(b) It analyzes the evolution of the business environment in Greece;
(c) It presents the structural morphology of the Greek entrepreneurial ecosystem in
Stra.Tech.Man terms; and
(d) Introduces the necessary conclusions and the specified directions of future research.
2. Entrepreneurship crisis in Greece
A vast number of modern studies have researched the crisis topic concerning
entrepreneurship. Some of them seem to draw useful conclusions:
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The study of Peris-Ortiz et al. (2014, p. 1), which relates entrepreneurs with their
experience, specific business management skills and knowledge, their innovation
practices, attitude, and perception of opportunities, postulates that entrepreneurs
with these characteristics and practices, embodying entrepreneurship in the fullest
sense, will maintain an entrepreneurial attitude in situations of economic crisis.
Giotopoulos et al. (2017b, p. 927) suggest that given the critical role that ambitious
entrepreneurs are likely to perform in times of crisis, creating the right conditions for
the emergence and support of innovative, high-growth and export-driven new
ventures may be a selective and more compelling growth strategy. In this direction,
the implementation of structural reforms in product and labor markets, the
establishment of entrepreneurial universities, and support of female
entrepreneurship should be policy priorities. These actions could also mitigate the
effect of fear of failure on ambitious entrepreneurship as they may reduce the risk of
starting a new business. Such mechanisms and policy tools may help in nurturing and
leveraging those crucial quality entrepreneurial elements that will foster value
creation of new ventures and increase their multiplying effect on economic growth in
Korsgaard et al. (2016, p. 178) emphasize the spatial aspect and argue that their
analysis indicates that the opportunistic discovery view and, to some extent, the
resourcefulness view are both inadequate as conceptual platforms for
entrepreneurial responses to the economic, environmental and socio-spatial crisis.
Instead, they develop the entrepreneurship as re-sourcing as an alternative
perspective on entrepreneurship. This perspective emphasizes the importance of
building regional-level resilience through the entrepreneurial activity that sources
resources from new places and uses these resources to create multiple forms of value.
More specifically, for the entrepreneurship crisis in Greece in recent years, the following
approaches are useful:
I. Giotopoulos et al. (2017a, p. 540) highlight the role of the human capital of
entrepreneurs for ambitious new ventures, even though different aspects of
entrepreneurs’ human capital appear to matter in crisis and non-crisis periods. While
work experience seems to positively affect the probability of being an ambitious
entrepreneur during the crisis years, educational attainment of entrepreneurs
appears to be an essential driver of growth-oriented entrepreneurship only in the pre-
crisis period. This result, though somewhat strange, may be explained by the
accelerated during the crisis period in Greece brain-drain phenomenon and the
work options in established firms that may be available for well-educated and highly
skilled people even in adverse times.
II. Vassiliadis and Vassiliadis (2014, p. 246), by searching the aspect of family-business
entrepreneurship suggest that family firms make an essential contribution to the
national economy and bring long-term stability. A critical advantage of a family
business is its ability to survive in times of economic crisis. Greece has one of the most
significant numbers of SMEs within the EU, and most of them are family businesses.
The most characteristic feature in Greece is that the members of the family own,
manage, and influence the business. As far as corporate governance is concerned,
Greek family-owned businesses are under-governed. The primary obstacles faced by
the Greek family businesses are human resources issues, bureaucracy, unstable tax
environment, as well as family conflicts and lack of succession planning. Preparing for
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a business transfer to the next generation is a long and complicated process and can
entail several obstacles. Professional support bodies in Greece would help the
transfer of family businesses to the next generation considerably.
III. Herrmann and Kritikos (2013, p. 20) explore how Greece can move towards an
innovation-based economy, arguing that Greece’s Euro-zone membership may have
given a false impression that it is an innovation-driven economy. The Greek economy
is not, however, since it faces not only institutional but also severe structural deficits
with a small industrial basis, low export ratio, small businesses, and many closed
professions. If decreasing labor costs and further institutional reforms were to be the
only active policy, then Greece’s future would be a low wage economy with an
extended workbench of other innovative economies. Greece can only become
prosperous if it also uses its comparative advantages beyond tourism, trade, and
IV. Kaplanoglou et al. (2016, p. 432) present the results of a survey of 550 small and micro
enterprises in Greece, a country facing one of the most significant tax gaps in the
developed world, regarding their tax compliance behavior, and suggesting that trust
seems to play the most significant role in increasing intended compliance with tax
obligations and in deterring strategic tax evasion. The effect of powerful tax
authorities on tax behavior depends on the level of trust to government. Power of tax
authorities increases voluntary compliance only in high-trust settings. It seems,
therefore, that people are more willing to entrust their money to a government that
uses it wisely if an effective tax administration supports the latter.
V. Giannacourou et al. (2015, p. 548) use data from case studies of Greek SMEs and
explore the impact of the crisis on managers’ perceptions of uncertainty by comparing
their pre-crisis and after crisis perceptions. In particular, before the outbreak of the
crisis, most managers reported that levels of uncertainty were medium-to-low in all
measured parameters, although the answers of the managers of smaller firms
centered on the middle of the scale. After the outbreak of the crisis, most managers
reported an increase in uncertainty in all categories comprising environmental
uncertainty, although the increase reported by managers of medium-sized firms was
slightly lower.
VI. Sainis et al. (2016, p. 327) explore the willingness of ISO certified Greek SMEs to
continue developing their total quality management under crisis conditions. By using
as quality criteria for measuring the TQM implementation level the organizational
performance assessment, the organizational culture, the quality processes and the
quality tools and techniques, conclude that the Greek SMEs continue their quality
journey emphasizing cultural dimensions. The low rates recognized for quality tools
and processes implemented, show that ISO certified SMEs reinforce TQM
implementation but not in such a level as to contribute to a continuous
improvement process.
VII. Williams and Vorley (2015, p. 28), through the case study of Greece, demonstrate how
the institutional environment has changed in light of the crisis and the resultant
response of entrepreneurs to these changes. They draw in-depth interviews with
entrepreneurs and find that changes to institutions have served to limit
entrepreneurial activity rather than enhance it and that this has worsened amid the
crisis. They argue that this phenomenon will detrimentally impact Greece's ability to
navigate out of the crisis and regain competitiveness in the longer term.
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VIII. Giotopoulos and Vettas (2018, p. 877) explore the antecedents of export‐oriented
entrepreneurship, such as the demographic characteristics, perceptions, and
dynamism of entrepreneurs, in Greece at times of crisis, using a micro‐level data
analysis. They suggest that in the light of the recent economic crisis and the next
recessionary economic cycle that affected the Greek economy, the need for
restructuring the productive entrepreneurial system towards a dynamic and export‐
oriented critical mass is more eminent than ever in order to create value, generate
jobs, and facilitate economic recovery.
IX. Kapitsinis (2019) employs a comparative analysis of the pre- and post-crisis
movements of Greek small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to Bulgaria in order
to examine the impact of the crisis and the applied public policy on firm-internal
relocation factors, such as size, sector and relocation incentive, and the effects of
relocation on business performance. Greek SME movements to Bulgaria have recently
increased considerably due to the adverse effects of the crisis on the Greek economy.
Results demonstrate that, while in the pre-crisis period many Greek businesspeople
viewed relocation to Bulgaria as an entrepreneurial opportunity for expansion since
2007 relocation is a necessity for the vast majority of Greek entrepreneurs in order to
stay in business.
3. The entrepreneurship environment in Greece
At the same time, in order to comprehend the unique environment of entrepreneurship in
Greece nowadays, it is useful to consider the approach of Global Entrepreneurship Monitor
(GEM), which is being published since 1999 and provides the respective publication for Greece
since 2003. More specifically, the most crucial index and the innovation of this approach is the
early stage entrepreneurship which calculates the percentage of the 18-64 population who
are either a nascent entrepreneur or owner-manager of a new business (Bosma & Kelley,
2018, p. 138).
More specifically, the latest report (Bosma & Kelley, 2018, p. 80), which profiles 49 economies
with respect to demographics, their potential impact, the diversity of forms they take, and
their longer-term sustainability, reaches the conclusion for Greece that the improvement in
early-stage entrepreneurship during 2018 is closely related to the rebound of the Greek
economy after a period of profound and prolonged economic crisis. The growth rate in 2018
is forecasted to reach 2%, (1.4% in 2017). The most important milestone of 2018 was the fact
that in August, an eight-year cycle of three successive programs of economic support and
adjustment programs completed. The economy achieved a significant amount of adjustment
and rebalancing, increased its exports and investments, although domestic financing
conditions remain very weak. The report states that the economy requires policies aimed at
encouraging people with high educational levels to promote entrepreneurship. These policies
should focus not just on a mere quantitative increase of new ventures, but on the quality of
these ventures, i.e., their innovation and growth potential.
The GEM report classifies the countries in four regional groups (East and South Asia, Europe
and North America, Latin America and Caribbean, Middle East and Africa), and further
differentiates them in terms of their income level (low-income, middle-income, high-income);
Greece falls into the high-income category. In the following table taken from the last GEM
report, among about 50 economies, Greece is classified in the lowest positions (see Table 1).
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Table 1: Entrepreneurial behavior and attitudes in Greece, according to the Global
Entrepreneurship Monitor (Bosma & Kelley, 2018, p. 80)
Self-Perceptions About Entrepreneurship
Perceived opportunities
Perceived capabilities
Fear of failure
Entrepreneurial intentions
Total early-stage Entrepreneurial
Activity (TEA)
TEA 2018
TEA 2017
TEA 2016
Established business ownership rate
Entrepreneurial Employee Activity
Motivational Index
Opportunity/Necessity Motive
Gender Equality
Female/Male TEA Ratio
Female/Male Opportunity Ratio
Entrepreneurship Impact
Job expectations (6+)
Industry (% in Business Services
Societal Value About Entrepreneurship
High status to entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurship a good career choice
Concerning the rest indices of Table 1, the GEM calculates them by extracting empirical data.
Based on the latest report (Bosma & Kelley, 2018, pp. 138139), these indices take into
account the following dimensions in order to produce the final indicative scores:
Perceived opportunities: Percentage of the 18-64 population who see opportunities
to start a firm in the area where they live.
Perceived capabilities: Percentage of the 18-64 population who believe they have the
required skills and knowledge to start a business.
Fear of failure: Percentage of the 18-64 population with perceived opportunities who
also indicate that fear of failure would prevent them from setting up a business
Entrepreneurial intentions: Percentage of the 18-64 population (individuals involved
in any stage of entrepreneurial activity excluded) who intend to start a business within
three years.
Established business ownership rate: indicates the percentage of the 18-64
population who are currently owner-manager of an established business, i.e., owning
and managing a running business that has paid salaries, wages, or any other payments
to the owners for more than 42 months.
Entrepreneurial Employee Activity EEA: percentage of the 18-64 population who, as
employees, have been involved in entrepreneurial activities such as developing or
launching new goods or services, or setting up a new business unit, a new
establishment, or a subsidiary.
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Improvement-Driven Opportunity/Necessity Motive: percentage of those involved in
TEA who (i) state they are driven by opportunity as opposed to having no better
options for work; and (ii) who indicate the main driver for being involved in this
opportunity is being independent or increasing their income, rather than just
maintaining their income.
High status to entrepreneurs: Percentage of the 18-64 population who agree with the
statement that in their country, successful entrepreneurs receive high status.
Entrepreneurship a good career choice: Percentage of the 18-64 population who
agree with the statement that in their country, most people consider starting a
business as a desirable career choice.
Furthermore, some older GEM studies, which comment on the general business environment
in Greece, present some useful conclusions.
According to the 2010 report (Kelley, Bosma, & Amorós, 2010), the established
business rate in Greece is significantly high. They explain that by stating that, to some
extent, agriculture dominates the economy in Greece.
According to the 2011 report (Bosma, Wennekers, & Amorós, 2011), there is an
absence of reforms in Greece, whose economy lacks dynamism. Except for physical
and commercial infrastructure, as well as support for entrepreneurship, all other
elements constituting the entrepreneurship framework conditions are unfavorable,
since no significant restructuring or reform has taken place over the past few years.
Also, the report notices that Greece has a very high level of established business
owners and to have so many people involved as business owners in comparison to
not just other innovation-driven economies but also to Greece’s own early-stage
entrepreneurial activity points at a limited degree of dynamism.
As per the 2013 report (Amorós and Bosma, 2013, p. 53), business opportunities in
Greece are dramatically low because of the crisis, whereas the business skills are very
high. The report states that the entrepreneurial profile of Greece differs quite a lot
from the average profile of an innovation-driven economy. Even though Greece’s TEA
rate is slightly higher than (but still comparable to) other economies, other indicators
show that due to the crisis in Greece, perceived opportunities to start a business are
dramatically low, even though perceived capabilities are quite high. Also, the nature
of entrepreneurial activities tends to be one of low ambition and relatively driven by
necessity. Entrepreneurial employee activity, as measured by the GEM 2011
assessment, is quite low in Greece (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: The entrepreneurial profile of Greece (Amorós & Bosma, 2013, p. 54)
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Also, the following diagram for the early stage entrepreneurship in Greece from 2003 to 2017,
illustrates substantial fluctuations, which culminated before the outbreak of world crisis in
2008, whereas today this specific index has reached the lowest value ever (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: Total early-stage Entrepreneurial Activity in Greece (Global Entrepreneurship
Monitor, 2019)
According to Tsakanikas et al. (2018, p. 5-7), the authors of the 2017 GEM research focused
on the case of Greece, the characteristics of early-stage entrepreneurship in 2017 are the
following. In 2017, the percentage of the population aged 18-64 at the early stages of
entrepreneurial activity (including self-employment) dropped to 4.8% (approximately 320
thousand people) from 5.7% (approximately 380 thousand) in 2016. Some 56% of early-stage
entrepreneurs are new entrepreneurs, while the remaining are nascent entrepreneurs. About
17% of the population aged 18-64 (1.13 million people) has some relation with
entrepreneurship, either in early or in subsequent stages. The rate of the population that shut
down an entrepreneurial venture in 2017 reached 4.2% (approximately 310 thousand people),
higher than the corresponding rate in 2016 (3.8%) and much higher than the average of
innovation-driven economies (2.2%). 29% of early-stage entrepreneurs (about 90 thousand
people) are necessity-driven entrepreneurs, while 37% (about 120.000 thousand people) are
opportunity-driven entrepreneurs. In terms of age, in 2017, the higher participation in early
stages of entrepreneurship was from the age group 35-44 years old, (7.6% versus 11.3% in
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innovation-driven economies). The percentage of female early-stage entrepreneurship
dropped at 3.9% (about 131 thousand women) from 4.8% in 2016, while the percentage for
men dropped to 5.7% (about 185 thousand men) from 6.6% in 2016. In 2017, 41.7% of early-
stage entrepreneurs had at least a degree of tertiary education, presenting a higher share
compared to 2016, while another 11.5% had a postgraduate degree. Finally, 3.2% of people
aged 18-64 (approximately 214 thousand people) declared that they were informal investors
in another person’s business venture, a rate slightly lower compared to 2016, but also lower
than the average of innovation-driven economies (5.4%).
4. The structural morphology of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Greece
The enterprises that operate in Greece, like living/adaptive organisms, are not all of the same
kind. All enterprises in Greece as living organisms, as animals of different species, do not
share the same evolutionary physiology (Vlados, 2004, 2005, 2012). The ‘fauna’ of these
enterprises, as well as their socioeconomic ecosystem, is not at all the same; and as it seems,
nor will it easily catch up in the future with that of the developed capitalist countries.
The specific dimensions of the business environment in Greece keep changing in an incessant
evolutionary way. All the socioeconomic islets on the planet, namely, the partial
socioeconomic systems, are coming even closer because of the dynamics of globalization. The
socioeconomic systems come closer, without having their structural socioeconomic
idiomorphism absorbed or wiped out. On the contrary, their structural singularity keeps
reproducing evolutionarily in the restructuring of globalization (Ladhari, Souiden, & Choi,
2015; Roudometof, 2014; Scherer, Palazzo, & Seidl, 2013).
A part of contemporary literature and research, however, falls into an interpretive trap. A
field of modern economic science, either neoclassical or neo-Marxist, does not seem to
understand what exactly globalization is per se. Thus, it cannot gain a thorough insight into
the structural and physiological evolution of firms in this context. On the contrary, the
interpretation that conceives firms as living organisms, in a biological-type theoretical
perspective can be more thorough analytically (Geus, 2002; Meyer & Davis, 2003; Zeleny,
4.1. How do different types of enterprises in Greece think and operate?
Based on the findings of previous studies (Βλάδος, 2006, 2016), which continue to get
validated on the field, the enterprises that operate in Greece in different sectors of economic
activity, form a dynamic three-pole: namely, the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Greece gets
evolutionarily polarized among three central and distinct Stra.Tech.Man physiologies.
In particular, according to Vlados (2004, 2005), a socioeconomic organization is perceived as
an evolutionary entity that synthesizes internally three co-evolving spheres: its strategy (Stra),
technology (Tech), and management (Man). A threefold set of profound questionsalways
and necessarily—defines and advances the organization’s specific “Stra.Tech.Man dynamic
potential of innovation:
i. Strategy corresponds to the set of questions, where am I, where am I going, how
do I go there and why?”
ii. Technology corresponds to the set of questions “how do I draw, create,
synthesize, spread, and reproduce the means of my work and know-how and
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iii. Management corresponds to the set of questions “how do I use my available
resources and why?” (see Figure 3)
Figure 3: The evolutionary Stra.Tech.Man core of the enterprise (Βλάδος, 2006)
Each entrepreneurial type (Siakas et al., 2014) perceives business reality (business philosophy)
and operates (business procedures) in a different way, both in terms of management,
technology, and strategy. These differences always emerge in every link of their operational
chain, as illustrated by the Tables that follow (see Tables 2, 3, and 4).
Table 2: The central types of management in today’s Greek enterprises (Βλάδος, 2006)
Type of Management
Massive Enterprise
Flexible Enterprise
It sets long-term
quantitative goals and
It follows a constant spirit
of quality and continuity:
systemic unification of
short-term and long-term
Based on constant, precise,
and generally inflexible
Based on the autonomy of
functional teams, with
constant efforts of
It focuses on the search of
qualified specialist and
worker with minimum
It focuses on the search for
a creative
Development of human
It focuses on specific,
narrow, and segmented
operational areas.
It extends on top of the
continuous cognitive
enrichment of all levels of
hierarchy and across all
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It is based on simple and of
limited extent, economic
It focuses on idealistic
incentives with a long-term
It is based on strict and
detailed rules and routines.
It is based on the support
of open-mindedness, with
a character that
encourages advice-giving
instead of order-giving.
It is centralized, based
mainly on clear and formal
It is decentralized and
internalized: an effort
towards assimilating
control to the project and
“inside” the worker at the
same time.
Communication and
Mainly of a vertical type,
from top to bottom: the
flow of information happens
in a linear and fragmentary
Mainly of a mixed type:
vertical, horizontal, and
diagonal in the
organization chart.
Diffusion of information in
interactive networks.
Table 3: The central types of technology in today’s Greek enterprises (Βλάδος, 2006)
Type of Technology
“Massive” Enterprise
Flexible Enterprise
Technological vigilance
It focuses on the
instantaneous exploitation
of technological
opportunities (usually total
lack of systematic focus on
the evolving technological
It focuses on the systematic
exploitation of pre-installed
technological frameworks
(focus mainly on the internal
technological tradition of the
It focuses on the systemic
and interactive
exploitation of the
technological data (effort
towards progressive
unification of the internal
and external technological
environment of the
Technology acquisition
It is based on a static
selectivity: the trustworthy
supplier of technology
chooses for the company.
It is based on a one-way
selectivity through small
It is based on a
multifarious selectivity
with a dynamic and
constant character.
Internal creation of
Very limited: it focuses on
the search for better
Relatively limited: it focuses on
the continuous increase of
quantitative performance.
Well-developed and
durable: focused on the
continuous improvement
of all the qualitative
dimensions of the
Technology assimilation
It is perceived as a point-
to-point and enclosed logic
of the working positions;
works for immediate
It is perceived according to a
mechanistic logic, which
usually is limited by narrow
It is perceived according to
an organic logic: an effort
towards parallel
integration in terms of
workerteamthe entire
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Technology diffusion
Fragmented and enclosed
in specific individual tasks:
limited to the craftsman’s
It is enclosed in specific
holistic, and with multiple
bi-directional orientations.
Technology application
Dominated by a focus on
personalized work: the
experienced craftsman is
the principal agent.
Dominated by a focus on the
formal administrative
structure: the highest in the
rank executive is the principal
Dominated by a focus on
exploitation: the creative
collaborator of the nearby
department is the
principal agent.
Assessment of
technological effort
It focuses on sporadic
evaluations: point to point,
task to task, worker to
worker, but rarely as a
It focuses on evaluations of
technical efficiency: usually
strictly perceived as a race for
quantitative improvements.
It focuses on the
evaluation of total
technological efficiency:
perceived in a multi-
synthetic way and with a
cohesive qualitative
Technological synthesis
It is based on the individual
skills and talent of the
It is based on procedures and
on offices of methods pre-
installed and typically
It is based on the
collaborative creation and
the collective talent of all
the action teams.
Table 4: The central types of strategy in today’s Greek enterprises (Βλάδος, 2006)
Type of Strategy
“Massive” Enterprise
Flexible Enterprise
Total strategic perspective
The pursuit of short-term
market success, avoiding
immediate risks.
A procedure of repetitive
quantitative plans is
guiding the enterprise.
It progressively assimilates a
unifying spirit for the totality of
the dynamic dimensions
surrounding the enterprise.
Nature of business plan
It is based on an implicit
and informal procedure
that relies on the hidden
thoughts of the business
It is based on a systematic
and mainly
It is based on an open and
multi-collective methodology, to
synthesize simultaneously
precise and underground
Monitoring of the general
external business
It monitors with an
It monitors with an
inflexible calendar type
It monitors with a constant and
strongly reflective character in
systemic terms.
Monitoring of the direct,
sectoral and local
competitive environment
of the enterprise
It is realized, usually, in
terms of an emergency
action task.
It is realized, usually, in
terms of directly
comprehension of
competitiveness (as a
zero-sum game).
It is realized, usually, in terms of
progressive endogenization of
changes (as a positive-sum
Monitoring of the internal
business environment
It is concentrated on the
direct initiative of the
owner/boss without a clear
and explicit method.
It is concentrated on the
evaluation of the
functional efficiency,
based on detailed
administrative audits.
It is concentrated on the
evaluation of the total efficiency
of the organization, based on
quantitative/qualitative audits.
The exploitation of partial
strategic dimensions
It focuses on the dimension
of immediate market
profitability with repetitive
character and nothing
It focuses on the simple
combination of internal
functional advantages
with the needs of the
It focuses on the cross-
fertilization of the inherent
advantages of the enterprise
with the evolution of the
broader trends of the market
6th International Conference on Applied Economics “INSTITUTIONS & THE KNOWLEDGE
market (a comparatively
static logic).
and the economy. The constant
pursuit of hidden synergies.
Assessment of strategic
analysis and synthesis
Ambiguous and person-
oriented: relying on the
individuality of the
Standardized and mainly
dichotomous: relying on
the reproduction of the
interests of the top
executives and
secondarily on the
Multilevel and functionally
integrated into the entire
enterprise: established on
strategic democracy and in
the quest for continuous
entrepreneurial evolution.
The contribution of
strategy in the search for
entrepreneurial success
and excellence
The strategy is an unusual
mixed perspective:
opportunistic and
conservative at the same
time. Capital exploitation
remains, in most cases,
short-term and modest.
The strategy is an often
apprehension. Capital
exploitation remains
partitioned between
short-term and long-
The strategy is a dialectical (co-
evolutionary) apprehension of
the internal and external
environment. Capital
exploitation becomes unified
between the short- and the
long-term, without one-
dimensional enforcement of
immediate maximization of
The tables above that describe the central types of strategy, technology, and management in
today’s Greek enterprises are useful to understand some critical dimensions:
First of all, they unravel the fact that the differentiation of the three different firm
types is neither superficial and coincidental nor easily reversible. On the contrary,
their differentiation is structural and substantially physiological.
They also reveal the deeper structural cohesion of these three poles. These three
types of enterprises continue to operate as structural poles of the entrepreneurial
ecosystem in Greece. Even though the three types do not express a static
classification, they do manage to clarify the reproduction of the business ecosystem
in Greece cohesively.
The mixed physiological Stra.Tech.Man types (hybrids) are both existent and possible;
however, they always come under an affinity limitation in the combination of
different Stra.Tech.Man logic that they synthesize (Vlados & Chatzinikolaou,
Forthcoming; Vlados & Chatzinikolaou, 2019).
All the living firms in Greece cannot incorporate big selective openings, and they cannot
cope with significant internal physiological distances in the individual Stra.Tech.Man terms. It
is also not possible for these enterprises to make big physiological leaps, from one day to the
next. The sustainable evolution of a firm is always carried out under the condition of co-
evolution of these three Stra.Tech.Man spheres that characterizes the physiological root.
Moreover, in this way, the automatic shifts and transformational miracles of any
organization do not seem possible (Marshall, 1890).
4.2. How do the enterprises survive in Greece?
Under the current circumstances, the monadocentric family type firms seem to keep
comprising the backbone of the productive system in Greece. In particular, they tend to give
answers to the links of the chain of their thought and action in a reflective way. These
answers are least systematic and consistent with a cohesive entrepreneurial perspective. And
not only that, but their business logic is difficult to reconcile with any stereotypical image of
the rational capitalistic efficiency.
6th International Conference on Applied Economics “INSTITUTIONS & THE KNOWLEDGE
As it happens with all the firms, the monadocentric type ones survive in the globalized
competitiveness according to the composite-triple Stra.Tech.Man dynamics of
competitiveness. Namely, they combine their physiology (what exactly they are) with the
properties of the idiomorphous external socioeconomic environment that hosts them,
always operating and fitting in specific globalized sectors.
Why do they continue to constitute the majority in Greece, even in the current crisis
conditions? Simply because the current socioeconomic conditions in Greece keeps favoring
With the factors of production market not particularly fertile and knowledge-
oriented. In particular, the labor market does not have relatively high skills and, on
many occasions, it is contradictory and inflexible. At the same time, the labor market
becomes gradually dual (Christopoulou & Monastiriotis, 2016), not only between
the urban and rural population but primarily between the private and the public
With a product/services market that is neither particularly fertile nor especially
demanding in terms of quality. A market where the about in terms of quality and
price survives domestically, however, it finds great difficulty to be exported and
rewarded in foreign markets (Bournakis, 2014; Chrysomallidis & Tsakanikas, 2017;
Giotopoulos & Vettas, 2018; Klonaris & Agiangkatzoglou, 2017; Pitelis, 2012).
With a knowledge and innovation environment generally poor, weak, and enclosed,
continually reproducing its various pathogenies. At the same time, the work
mentality is generally reassured, while entrepreneurship has significant deficiencies
in entrepreneurial knowledge and skills (Cohen, Naoum, & Vlismas, 2014;
Panagiotakopoulos, 2015).
With a rich cultural background that, however, is ankylosed by a problematic
mentality of political irresponsibility, which reproduces entrenched interests and
infertile introversion.
With a natural/environmental background (Koutalakis, 2011; Lekakis & Kousis, 2013)
poorly managed and increasingly threatened. Also, with a demographic perspective
also gradually worsened (Ifanti et al., 2014; Labrianidis & Vogiatzis, 2013).
Finally, with a state-intervention logic most of the time intentionally labyrinthical,
dyspraxic and ineffective, despite the passage through the painful adjustment
period of the memorandums.
4.3. How do the enterprises in Greece seem to adapt?
So the fact that the monadocentric enterprises dominate in numbers in Greece should not
come as any surprise. They constitute the majority of enterprises because they manage to
fit with the conditions of the national socioeconomic system, even in the conditions of its
structural crisis. However, the critical issue is to what extent and how will they carry on
achieving to fit (Carmeli, Gelbard, & Gefen, 2010; Prajogo, 2016) in the rapidly globalized
Fa long time now, the modern game of competitiveness in the globalization, is not a simple
case. It is not enough to fit. The enterprise also has to stretch in resources and competitive
skills. At this point, the major problem for the reproduction of monadocentric enterprises
and not exclusively themarises in todays Greece. To a large extent, the monadocentric
enterprises in Greece today, show significant weakness in stretching creatively in different
6th International Conference on Applied Economics “INSTITUTIONS & THE KNOWLEDGE
sectors. This stake of stretching brings to the foreground the dynamics of globalization of
the sectors of economic activity. For this reason, the problem of evolution of the productive
backbone of the Greek economy must be taking into account a globalized perspective
(Andreoni & Scazzieri, 2014; Lundvall, 2011).
In practice, nowadays, a big part of the monadocentric enterprises in Greece along with
a large part of the massive enterprisesdo not manage to stretch upwards; it retreats
trying to defend itself.
However, what does this mean? It seems that a large part of firms in Greece, sometimes
subconsciously, keep retreating within the globalized hierarchy of their sectors of activity,
moving towards more accessible, weaker, less demanding but less profitable subsectors of
the global market (Dauth & Suedekum, 2016; Mahmood, Ghani, & ud Din, 2015). Since all
sectors of economic activity do not cease to get transformed qualitatively in a global scale, a
big part of firms in Greece seem to move to less productive and promising domains of the
global construction site; towards less fertile, in terms of added value and strategic interest,
links of production within the globalized division of labour (Gill, 2016; Poli, 2010). The most
vital part is not the sector of activity per se as a field of reference. The critical issue is that the
national productive backbone seems to keep shifting to less productive and profitable global
sectors, without being able to protect its domestic markets effectively.
In brief, the entire national productive system seems to keep being oriented for decadesor
instead pushed passivelyto the less demanding part, in terms of quality and profitability, of
the globalized sectors of production. The problem is that the Greek enterprises are led to
produce what they can produce as well and those who are significantly cheaper than them;
and to this point, the critical issue of lack of competitiveness of the productive system seems
obvious (Altomonte & Békés, 2016; Annoni et al., 2017).
4.4. How do the enterprises evolve in Greece?
Ultimately, the issue of quality of the Greek enterprises in broad, cohesive and evolutionary
terms, seems to continue being the touchstone over the competitiveness of the national
socioeconomic system (Committee of the Regions, 2011; Fransman, 2018). More specifically,
the claim of better quality is mostly a matter of the Greek firms entire organization and
functiona matter of their particular evolutionary Stra.Tech.Man physiology. Not only that,
but is also a matter of how the surrounding socioeconomic system evolves by targeting the
globalized sectorial agglomerations intelligently (Fujita & Thisse, 2013; Nathan & Overman,
However, there are still some optimistic points. As the heterogeneity of firms increasein a
generally negative cross-sectorial trajectory for the Greek economymany enterprises
manage to improve contrary to expectations. In most cases, these are dynamic
organizationshybrids in Stra.Tech.Man terms. They are mainly new generation business
types and models (Bharadwaj et al., 2013; Dahan et al., 2010) (see Figure 4).
6th International Conference on Applied Economics “INSTITUTIONS & THE KNOWLEDGE
Figure 4: The expanding heterogeneity in the pursuit/preservation of competitiveness: the
insertion of the Greek enterprises in globalization (Βλάδος, 2006)
The old types/forms of the three entrepreneurial species prove to be the most vulnerable
in the race of globalized competitiveness; therefore, they are gradually moving away from the
competition. The newer, physiologically evolved representatives of the three species prove to
be the most resilient and promising. Also, they tend to accept the resort to multinational
involvement (Dau, 2013; Monaghan & Tippmann, 2018; Radlo, 2012), alliances and coalitions,
which increase the margins of sectorial refocusing drastically and sometimes the
opportunities of fast physiological evolution.
More specifically, it seems that the enterprises that prove to be more resilient, achieving
better performance even in the current economic crisis era, continue to be the following ones:
The new monadocentric enterprise, which is faster and smarter in its choices, with
selective assimilation of massive tools; it is more extroverted and sometimes
relocated to countries that can offer advantages it knows how to use (cheap labor,
complicated bureaucracy, such as the Balkans).
The new massive enterprise and the advanced massive enterprisethe latter
with systematic openings to the flexible modelwhich manage to exploit
progressively, advantages of the Greek national socioeconomic system that have been
unexploited so far (common European market, monetary stability, preservation of a
relatively developed domestic consumption pattern, specialized scientific workforce
which is not expensive any more).
6th International Conference on Applied Economics “INSTITUTIONS & THE KNOWLEDGE
The authentic and typical flexible enterprise, that is, the offspring of the first form
of flexible enterprise, which manages to become more aggressive in the claim of high-
standard parts of the global market.
For all these hybrid-type new generation organizations (Battilana & Dorado, 2010;
McMullen, 2018)and mainly for the monadocentric type, which continues to bear the
most significant pressuresthe goal of the efficient stretch in physiological, spatial, and
sectoral terms becomes of great importance.
5. Initial conclusions and directions for future research
In order to have a thorough understanding of the crisis of entrepreneurship in Greece, the
approach of evolution of the external business environment is not enough. It seems that it is
particularly useful an approach in terms of internal environment and analysis of the
evolutionary physiology of firms.
In terms of the internal and external environment, a double deficiency characterizes the
productive backbone in Greece in the last few years:
On the one hand, the Greek productive system reproduces many structural
deficiencies in the external environment, and
On the other hand, a significant number of Greek firms, particularly the
monadocentric/family businesses, are unable to find ways of efficient and fast
This article suggests that this combined and co-evolutionary perspective can pave the way for
a new generation of research concerning the evolution of the business ecosystem in Greece,
which may offer helpful directions for the configuration of respective structural economic
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προσέγγιση STRA.TECH.MAN. Αθήνα: Εκδόσεις Κριτική.
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... In addition, while both regions are home to innovative businesses [42], there is a great deal of room for growth, as well as for a reorientation of the regional economies towards more innovative sectors and practices. The start-up ecosystem in Greece can play a key role as a driver of further innovation by making use of the available intellectual capital [43], but the nascent innovative start-up scene is facing many obstacles. Apart from the lack of entrepreneurial skills and training [44], these include underdeveloped collaborative networks, low R&D investments, an unfriendly business environment afflicted by bureaucracy, and obsolete, punitive business legislation, which creates a constant fear of bankruptcy [45][46][47]. ...
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European regions are facing many important challenges, as the need to recover from the pandemic coincides with the need to carry out the green and digital transitions foreseen in the European Green Deal, making the task harder, especially for less-developed regions. The paper considers making use of regional intellectual capital in the context of smart specialisation strategies (S3) as the most effective way to address these challenges and achieve smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. This is viewed through a closer look at two specific cases of Greek regions that are behind the EU mean in terms of development and innovation: Central Macedonia and Western Macedonia. Development trends, available intellectual capital and current smart specialisation strategies in these regions are examined. These result in concrete, evidence-based suggestions on how they can make maximum use of intellectual capital for the next generation of smart specialisation strategies to achieve growth via a focus on more innovative and sustainable activities.
... According to Vlados & Chatzinikolaou, 2019a), in less developed socioeconomic systems (such as Greece) a peculiar type of entrepreneurship continues to survive and prevail, the ‚monadocentric‛ type. The ‚monadocentric‛ firms rely heavily on their strategic intuition, make sporadic technological choices, and use management techniques based solely on their practical experience. ...
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This volume—which is a collection of published articles by the “Stra.Tech.Man Lab” research team—focuses on and examines the dynamics of local systems as the principal contributors to overall socioeconomic development. Our goal is to clarify that local development is a phenomenon that goes beyond the traditional regional analysis and the “conventional” neoclassical theorization of maximization; the dynamics of local development seems to belong in the evolutionary socioeconomic science. The evolutionary and trans-disciplinary approach to local development dynamics focuses on the examination of local-level phenomena while seeking to comprehend how local systems (local innovation environments, local business ecosystems, local clusters) shape their potential of innovation and competitiveness. In our perspective, the scientific discipline of local development studies how socioeconomic systems in today’s era of globalization innovate and compete in their different spatial articulations.
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We are experiencing a phase of profound restructuring of world capitalism. Several phenomena and developments lead us to observe a restructuring and crisis that take place upon the previous phase of globalization. In our view, the current global crisis is a socioeconomic “gameplay” of planetary reach, where the balanced and healthy reproduction of the past globalization is over. Moreover, we should notice that this theoretical approach cannot be a superficial or sporadic one but structural and systematic. ... The purpose of this volume—which is a collection of published articles by the “Stra.Tech.Man Lab” research team—is to present critical issues concerning the broader region of Southeastern Europe and how they are interrelated and influenced by the level of development of the Greek socioeconomic system.
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In the current state of globalization’s restructuring, numerous studies are examining policies to strengthen local entrepreneurship and productive systems, in terms of clusters and ecosystems. In this article, we apply and extend the Stra.Tech.Man approach to entrepreneurial dynamics as an alternative base of articulating a business ecosystems development policy. By studying the case of the Eastern Macedonia and Thrace region, one of the less developed regions in Greece, we find that there are possibilities for using the Stra.Tech.Man approach to imprint, record and, by extension, give the possibility of strengthening the strategic, technological, and managerial capacity of the “cells” of specific business ecosystems. In this context, the aim of this study is to outline a new possible direction for policy planning and implementation, in order to expand the local business ecosystems’ innovative and competitive competence, especially in the context of a less developed region, by the usage of the ILDI (Institutes of Local Development and Innovation) mechanism. In this direction, we present an “introductory” and qualitative field research we carried out in the region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, on a sample of SMEs, in diagnostic terms of Stra.Tech.Man physiology.
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This paper explores how innovation is perceived, on the one hand, by the scientific literature and, on the other, by the everyday practice of small and micro enterprises operating in the less developed socioeconomic system of the Greek region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. Our aim is to find out whether there are different perceptions of innovation from two different "worlds", the theoretical and the practical. For this, we conducted an introductory and qualitative field research on a sample of small and micro enterprises in the region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. We found there is a notable distance in the perception of innovation between the scientific theory and the everyday practice of micro and small enterprises in this less developed region in Greece.
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L'objet central pour cette recherche est l'étude de l'insertion des entreprises grecques (voire plus exactement des entreprises industrielles opérant en Grèce) dans la globalisation envisagée comme une période de concurrence multiforme, de transformation intense des structures industrielles surtout pendant la décennie 90. Il s'agissait d'une insertion vue comme une somme complexe de phénomènes par nature multiples et évolutifs. Muni d'une nouvelle conception stratégique restructurée, avec les racines stra. Tech. Man. Physiologiques pour chaque firme, nous nous sentons prêt à rendre compte de la pluralité des formes, des contenus et des mutations évolutives qui synthétisent en fait l'insertion polymorphe et variable de entreprises grecques dans la globalisation en cours. D'ici, l'action stratégique n'est plus selon nous qu'un produit issu de la structure profonde dialectique stra. Tech. Man. Dans toutes les entreprises vivantes. Link:
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Cambridge Core - Economic Development and Growth - Innovation Ecosystems - by Martin Fransman
The sustainability problems of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services increasingly challenges the legitimacy of corporations. Corporate legitimacy, however, is vital to the survival of corporations in competitive environments. The literature distinguishes three strategies that corporations commonly employ to address legitimacy problems: adapt to external expectations, try to manipulate the perception of their stakeholders or engage in a discourse with those who question their legitimacy. This paper develops a theoretical framework for the application of different legitimacy strategies and suggests that corporations facing sustainability problems have to be able to activate all three legitimacy strategies, despite their inherent incompatibilities.
The main purpose of this paper is to explore the antecedents of export‐oriented entrepreneurship in Greece at times of crisis using micro‐level data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor annual surveys (2008–2014). Such antecedents refer to the demographic characteristics, perceptions, and dynamism of entrepreneurs. The findings of this study suggest that innovativeness drives the export activity of entrepreneurs in the initial and the more recent years of the economic crisis. Fear of failure and necessity motives appear to matter at the beginning of the crisis, whereas education is found to play a crucial role for international entrepreneurship as the crisis deepens.