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Explaining the Lack of Strategic Planning in SMEs: The Importance of Owner Motivation

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Abstract

Considerable evidence shows that strategic planning leads to increased firm performance. Yet, the majority of SMEs do not plan and the reasons why are not well understood. This article questions the common approach to understanding this problem based on identifying business barriers to planning. For the majority of SME owner operators, business performance often ranks far behind intangible goals such as autonomy, personal satisfaction and lifestyle. Strategic planning may therefore have little value to owner-operators driven by such motivators. This article presents an alternative perspective to the issue by arguing that owner aspirations are integral to whether or not SMEs strategically plan.
International Journal of Organisational Behaviour, Volume 12 (1), 1-16 ISSN 1440-5377
© Wang, Walker & Redmond
EXPLAINING THE LACK OF STRATEGIC PLANNING IN SMEs: THE
IMPORTANCE OF OWNER MOTIVATION
Calvin Wang
Elizabeth A. Walker
Janice Redmond
ABSTRACT
Considerable evidence shows that strategic planning leads to increased firm
performance. Yet, the majority of SMEs do not plan and the reasons why are not well
understood. This article questions the common approach to understanding this problem
based on identifying business barriers to planning. For the majority of SME owner-
operators, business performance often ranks far behind intangible goals such as
autonomy, personal satisfaction and lifestyle. Strategic planning may therefore have
little value to owner-operators driven by such motivators. This article presents an
alternative perspective to the issue by arguing that owner aspirations are integral to
whether or not SMEs strategically plan.
Keywords:SMEs, strategic planning, motivation, growth, planning barriers
INTRODUCTION
Research has consistently shown that most small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) do not
engage in strategic planning (e.g., Robinson & Pearce 1984; Sexton & van Auken 1985;
Berman, Gordon & Sussman 1997; Orser, Hogarth-Scott & Riding 2000; Sandberg, Robinson
& Pearce 2001; Beaver 2003). This is at odds with much of the strategy literature that dictates
that enterprises “must actively plan for the future” to compete effectively and survive (Ennis
1998, p.54). Accordingly, SME owner-managers have been accused of being “strategically
myopic” and lacking the “long-term vision as to where their company is headed” (Mazzarol
2004, p.1). The concern is that by neglecting strategic planning, SMEs may not achieve their
full performance and growth potentials, and their survival could be placed at risk (Berry
1998). Consequently, considerable research effort has been expended on identifying ‘barriers’
that hinder planning in order that these may be overcome or else mitigated to encourage
strategic planning in SMEs.
This article critically examines the apparent lack of a strategic imperative in SMEs and
highlights inherent problems with how this issue has been approached. It argues principally
that the antecedents of SME strategic planning have not properly been considered and that the
extant focus on the business—rather than the owner-manager—is inappropriate to a better
understanding of the issue. The article draws together two bodies of the SME literature which
have thus far been treated as independent areas of study—namely, strategic planning and
business start-up motivation—to present a conceptual model based on business ownership
aspirations to explain levels of strategic planning in SMEs. At a practical level, the model has
implications for how government and other initiatives aimed at enhancing the performance
and growth of SMEs should be developed.
All authors are affiliated with the Small and Medium Enterprise Research Centre, School of Management Edith
Cowan University, Australia (email Calvin Wang at: c.wang@ecu.edu.au).
Wang, Walker & Redmond Explaining the Lack of Strategic Planning in
SMEs: The Importance of Owner Motivation
2
BACKGROUND—THE IMPORTANCE OF SMEs
The importance of SMEs to world economies is well documented (Birch 1989; Storey 1994).
SMEs (firms with 200 or less employees) make up the largest business sector in every world
economy (Culkin & Smith 2000), and governments around the globe are increasingly
promoting and supporting SME growth as part of their overall national development strategy
(Abdullah & bin Bakar 2000).
While they dominate in terms of absolute numbers, SMEs are also important because they are
key drivers of employment and economic growth. At a macro level, SMEs have created the
majority of new jobs in OECD countries since the 1970s (Peacock 2004) and their collective
contributions to respective GDPs (e.g., approximately 30% in Australia and New Zealand,
51% in the UK and USA, 57% in Canada and Japan, 76% in Luxembourg) belie their
individual small size (Ayyagari, Beck & Demirguc-Kunt 2003). At a micro level, SMEs are
popularly looked upon by governments as a keystone to regional economic and community
regeneration. Since the early 1980s, considerable restructuring particularly in large firms (e.g.,
rationalising, downsizing, outsourcing and job exporting) has seen a general shedding of jobs
(Storey 1994). It is primarily through the growth of SMEs that employees made redundant by
large firms have been absorbed back into the work force (Storey 1994; Frank & Landstrom
1998). Through a multiplier effect, this employment provides income to regions which
stimulates local economic activity which in turn, drives wealth and further creation of
employment (Walker & Webster 2004).
In contemporary commerce, SMEs dominate many important industry sectors such as
retailing, service and construction; and form crucial forward and backward links in the supply
chain of large scale capital intensive manufacturing industries such as automotive, mining,
marine and defence (Robinson & Pearce 1984; Abdullah 2000; Wang, Rowe & Cripps 2006).
Additionally, their presence alongside large firms provides important competitive and
structural balance to industries and marketplaces that would otherwise be dominated by a few
large players (Beaver & Jennings 2000; Peacock 2004).
In terms of entrepreneurial activity, SMEs often occupy fragmented or niche markets which
large firms either cannot economically enter or are reluctant to enter because of ‘unattractive’
risk-return considerations (Brouthers, Andriessen & Nicolaes 1998). And despite their
generally limited capacity for research and development (R&D) investment, SMEs co ntribute
positively and disproportionately to innovative activity (Acs & Audretsch 1990). For
example, Peacock (2004) reported that SMEs in Australia contributed 54% of all ‘significant
technological innovations’ even though their share of R&D investments represented just 20%
of technical innovation expenditure. Perhaps as a result of the association with entrepreneurial
activity and innovation, SMEs serve an important ‘seedbed’ role for the growth of new
industries and the establishment of future large companies (Howard 1997).
The overall importance of SMEs is summarised by Ibielski (1997 quoted in Hashim &
Abdullah 2000, p. 193) as follows:
“[SMEs] are mighty minnows, reflecting the competitive spirit that a market
economy needs for efficiency; they provide an outlet for entrepreneurial
talents, a wider range of consumer goods and services, a check to monopoly
inefficiency, a source of innovation, and a seedbed for new industries; they
allow an economy to be more adaptable to structural change through
International Journal of Organisational Behaviour Volume 12 No. 1
3
continuous initiatives embodying new technologies, skills, processes or
products.
STRATEGIC PLANNING AND SMEs
In spite of their many contributions, SMEs are “plagued by high failure rates and poor
performance levels” (Jocumsen 2004, p.659). To ensure sustained development of the sector,
it is vital to understand why some SMEs are more successful than others. Comprehensive
reviews of extant studies into SMEs (e.g., Lurie 1987; Schwenk & Shrader 1993; Miller &
Cardinal 1994; Hormozi, Sutton, McMinn & Lucio 2002) suggest that, ceteris paribus, a key
determinant of business success lies in the absence or presence of strategic planning .
Strategic planning is concerned with the setting of long-term organisational goals, the
development and implementation of plans to achieve these goals, and the allocation or
diversion of resources necessary for realising these goals (Stonehouse & Pemberton 2002;
O'Regan & Ghobadian 2004). In a practical sense, strategic planning is about competitive
advantage. This is encapsulated by Ohmae (1983 in O'Regan & Ghobadian, 2002, p.664) who
stated that the purpose of strategic planning is to enable a business “to gain as efficiently as
possible, a sustainable edge over its competitors”.
This is supported in the empirical literature. With respect to performance, strategic planning is
generally more common in better performing SMEs. For example, SMEs that engage in
strategic planning (compared to those that do not) are more likely to be those that achieve
higher sales growth, higher returns on assets, higher margins on profit and higher employee
growth (Bracker, Keats & Pearson 1988; Berman et al. 1997; Carland & Carland 2003;
Gibson & Casser 2005).
Moreover, SMEs that engage in strategic planning are also more likely to be those enterprises
that are more innovative, that have more newly patented products, that employ new process
and management technologies, and that achieve international growth (Upton, Teal & Felan
2001; Beaver & Prince 2002; Stewart 2002; Gibbons & O'Connor 2005). Perhaps most
importantly, SMEs that engage in strategic planning are less likely to be those that fail (i.e.,
involuntarily wound up) (Gaskill, van Auken & Manning 1993; Perry 2001).
While it is certainly true that SME performance success is driven by more than strategic
planning alone, findings generally support the contention that there are, on balance, greater
advantages to planning than not planning. However, given all the evidence, it is well-
recognised that strategic planning is rare or non-existent in the majority of SMEs. In practice,
SMEs tend to orientate towards short-term operational rather than long-term strategic issues,
and decision-making tends to be reactive rather than proactive (Jones 1982; Gaskill, van
Auken & Manning 1993; Brouthers, Andriessen & Nicolaes 1998; Stonehouse & Pemberton
2002; Mazzarol 2004). In SMEs that claim to plan, plans are frequently ad hoc and intuitive
rather than formally written, and provide little basis upon which business performance can be
measured or analysed (Kelmar & Noy 1990).
The reason why some SMEs ‘do’ strategic planning while others do not is generally not well
understood (O'Regan & Ghobadian 2002). Accordingly, the thrust of research to explain the
lack of strategic planning in SMEs has focused on identifying the ‘barriers’ that discourage or
prevent planning. For example, Robinson and Pearce (1984) suggested that a lack of time, a
lack of specialised expertise, inadequate knowledge of the planning processes, or a reluctance
Wang, Walker & Redmond Explaining the Lack of Strategic Planning in
SMEs: The Importance of Owner Motivation
4
to share strategic plans with employees and external consultants are detrimental to and
compromise strategic planning in small business. Others have proposed that environmental
uncertainty or turbulence (Shrader, Mulford & Blackburn 1989; Matthews & Scott 1995;
Yusuf & Saffu 2005), size of business (Stonehouse & Pemberton 2002), type of industry
(Shrader, Mulford & Blackburn 1989), internal implementation barriers (O'Regan &
Ghobadian 2002) and business life-cycle/stage of development (Berry 1998) may account for
what Sexton and van Auken (1982, p.25) described as the “anemic level” of strategic planning
in SMEs. An overview of this research thrust is modelled in Figure 1.
Figure 1 shows that strategic planning is hampered by various barriers to planning which
result in (and explain) the lack or low levels of strategic planning observed in the majority of
SMEs. As described above, the thrust of research is on identifying organisational planning
barriers. The implication is that an understanding of barriers will allow “more careful and
accurate encouragement” to other firms on how such barriers can be overcome, thereby
increasing the overall levels of strategic planning in SMEs (Robinson & Pearce 1984, p.135).
This article raises two fundamental concerns with what is a “simplistic” approach to an
“extremely complex problem” (Ogunmokun, Shaw & FitzRoy 1999, p.191). First, the level of
analysis conducted in relation to the problem is at the level of the firm (in contrast to the level
of the individual). Second, the approach implicitly assumes a profit or growth maximising
objective for SMEs (illustrated in Figure 1 by dotted lines).
Figure 2 presents the alternative approach proposed in this article which addresses these
concerns; namely, that the level of analysis is conducted at the level of the individual (i.e.,
owner-manager), and that the motivations of owner-managers for being in business are taken
as the starting point for investigations into the strategic planning behaviours of SMEs (rather
than an a priori assumption of profit or growth maximisation goal).
The development of the model is based on the rationale that most SMEs operate as
“extensions” of their owner-managers (LeCornu, McMahon, Forsaith & Stanger 1996, p.2).
According to Mintzberg (1984 in Shepherd & Wiklund 2005, p.6), actions and decisions in
SMEs revolve around the owner-manager such that “its goals are [the owner-manager’s]
goals, its strategy [the owner-manager’s] vision”. Therefore, questions concerning the
strategic (or other) vision of the business need to be investigated in relation to the private
motivations and ambitions of the individual (Cliff 1998; Galloway & Mochrie 2005). These
motivations and ambitions may be influenced by education, gender, ethnicity, social
marginalisation, family commitments, personal aspirations or a multitude of other
psychological, sociological, demographic and environmental considerations (Beaver &
Jennings, 1995).
International Journal of Organisational Behaviour Volume 12 No. 1
5
FIGURE 1
Extant Approach to Explain Lack or Low Levels of Strategic Planning in SMEs
Strategic Planning Barriers
Lack of Time
Lack of Expertise
Inadequate Knowledge of Planning Processes
Reluctance to Share Strategic Ideas with
Employees & Others
Environmental Uncertainty/Turbulence
Size of Business
Type of Industry
Internal Implementation Barriers
Business Life-cycle/Stage of Development
Lack Or
Low Levels
Of Strategic
Planning In
SMEs
Profit Or
Growth
Maximisation
STRATEGIC
PLANNING
Wang, Walker & Redmond Explaining the Lack of Strategic Planning in
SMEs: The Importance of Owner Motivation
6
FIGURE 2
Proposed Approach to Explain Lack or Low Levels of Strategic Planning in SMEs
Owner-Manager’s
Motivation
For
Being in
Business
Higher Levels
Of
Strategic Planning
In SMEs
Lack or Lower
Levels Of
Strategic Planning
In SMEs
Profit Or
Growth
Maximisation
Personal
Fulfilment
International Journal of Organisational Behaviour Volume 12 No. 1
7
Accordingly, this article postulates that initial motivations for being in business
determine whether owner-managers will pursue either (a) profit/growth maximisation
goals or (b) personal fulfilment goals. This choice of goals subsequently determines
the strategic imperatives of the business. Given that strategic planning is recognised
as a vehicle to drive business development, competitiveness and hence, economic
success (Vicere 1995), it is proposed that owner-managers pursuing a profit/growth
maximisation agenda will be more inclined to engage in strategic planning.
Conversely, those pursuing personal fulfilment objectives will be less inclined. Figure
2 illustrates this conceptual relationship between business ownership aspirations and
the level of strategic planning in SMEs.
In essence, this article argues that most SMEs do not strategically plan because the
majority of owner-managers do not pursue profit/growth maximising goals and
therefore, do not perceive the need to plan to any great extent, least of all at a strategic
level. Given that only a small percentage of SMEs (5% to 10%) are gazelles’ or ‘high
flyers’ (i.e., dynamic enterprises with high growth or expansion intentions) and that
the majority are typically ‘trundlers’ (i.e., enterprises that just survive) (Storey 1994;
Peacock 2004), the proposed alternative has intuitive appeal since it provides a prima
facie explanation for the general lack of strategic intent and strategic planning
activities observed in many SMEs. The next section argues the issues raised above.
STARTUP MOTIVATIONS AND SMEs
Storey (1994, p.154) observed the much of the extant research assumes that the
majority, if not all, of SMEs “wish to grow but are prevented from so doing” by
“barriers”. This assumption is particularly robust in the studies of SME strategic
planning discussed above and is underscored by an economics perspective where
profit maximisation is seen as classic economic ‘rational behaviour’ and business
growth as a natural pursuit to achieve this (Shepherd & Wiklund 2005).
However, while concerns regarding profitability are necessary to ensure the viability
and continuity of SME operations, profit maximisation per se often ranks far behind
more personal, non-economic goals such as autonomy or independence, personal
satisfaction and achievement, work flexibility and lifestyle, and contribution to
society as drivers for owner-managers to be in business (Curran & Stanworth 1982;
LeCornu et al. 1996; Liang 2003; Walker & Brown 2004).
The pursuit of personal non-economic goals is something for which some owner-
managers are willing to sacrifice the prospect of greater financial rewards to achieve
(Brush 1992; LeCornu et al. 1996; Collins-Dodd, Gordon & Smart 2004; Lewis
2004). Rather than ‘economic rationality’, this behaviour is more aptly described as
“economic irrationality” (Holmes 2001, p.6) and a strong argument can be made that
SME owner-managers “are certainly not economic [individuals]” (Schumpeter 1946
in Swedberg 2000, p.16). This is substantiated by studies into the growth aspirations
(or lack thereof) of SME owner-managers. For example, Rosa, Carter and Hamilton
(1996) reported that only a third of SMEs in their study had intentions to expand;
Gray (1998) reported that 33% of SMEs in their study could be classified as growth-
orientated while the remaining 67% were either growth-averse or were exiting/retiring
or selling their businesses; and, Holmes and Zimmer (1994), and Sexton (1989) noted
Wang, Walker & Redmond Explaining the Lack of Strategic Planning in
SMEs: The Importance of Owner Motivation
8
that most SMEs were interested only in ‘limited’, ‘incremental’ or ‘satisfactory’ long-
term growth.
Clearly, assumptions regarding SMEs’ pursuit of profit and growth maximisation in
the economic rational sense need to be challenged, as do assumptions that SMEs do
not strategically plan because they are prevented from doing so by planning ‘barriers’.
It is possible that a more fundamental explanation for the apparent lack of strategic
planning in SMEs may be closely related to owner-managers’ personally defined
‘non-rational’ motivations for being in business for which strategic planning is
perceived as unnecessary.
Motivations for being in business are complex and often, business ownership is
inextricably tied up with the personal lives of owner-managers and their families
(LeCornu et al. 1996; Culkin & Smith 2000). Broadly, motivational factors can be
categorised as either ‘pull’ or ‘push’ (Cooper & Dunkelberg 1986; Brockhaus 1987;
Hamilton 1987; Buttner & Moore 1997; Hughes 2003)—‘pull’ factors are associated
with owner-managers having a strong positive internal desire go into small business;
‘push’ factors are linked to similarly strong desires but based on external negative
reasons.
The most common ‘pull’ factor cited in the literature is independence or wanting to be
one’s own boss. Additional ‘pull’ reasons have been the desire to achieve job
satisfaction, the desire to have a flexible lifestyle, the desire for personal challenge; a
need for personal development, a need for approval, a wish for autonomy and a desire
to use existing experience and knowledge. These reasons are internally focused and
are not generally related to a financial imperative. Although personal financial
motives can exert a ‘pull’ force, this is more fundamentally related to the ability of
owner-managers to take control of their lives and ‘do somethi ng for themselves’.
Overall, financially-framed motives are often secondary to more personal and internal
drivers as factors for being in small business (Mason, Pinch & Storey 1991; Shane,
Kolvereid & Westhead 1991; Rosa, Hamilton, Carter & Burns 1994).
In contrast to ‘pull’ factors, ‘push’ factors centre on an element of frustration for
individuals with being in paid employment. Frustrative factors such as constraints of
being in a subservient role, perceived lack of opportunity for advancement, avoidance
of low-paid occupations and escape from supervision typically ‘push’ individuals to
leave paid employment and venture into business for themselves.
An important ‘push’ factor in business ownership is job loss. Redundancies or
retrenchment often create both huge emotional and financial crises which are
compounded when individuals are unable to find alternative employment over
prolonged periods. In such instances, businesses are started as a means for owner-
managers to be self-supporting which, in some cases, create distressed, unwilling or
reluctant entrepreneurs (Keeble, Bryson & Wood 1992; Stanworth & Stanworth
1997). In a parallel situation, racial or ethnic minorities and new immigrants are often
frustrated by ‘social marginalisation’ in finding employment (Holmes & Zimmer
1994; Blackburn & Ram 2006). Marginalisation factors such as unaccredited
education qualifications or professional skills, limited language abilities and
discrimination by the ‘non-ethnic’ labour force typically restrict most ‘mainstream’
employment opportunities and ‘push’ this group of individuals to be self-employing
International Journal of Organisational Behaviour Volume 12 No. 1
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(Jurik 1998; Johnson 2000). In these examples, many owner-managers are simply
‘buying’ employment. Rather than profit maximising, such enterprises are often
associated with low growth and profitability (Smallbone, Bertotti & Ekanem 2005).
With respect to both ‘pull’ and ‘push’ factors, a key outcome for individuals going
into business is a positive change in personal circumstance and affective ‘windfalls’
such as the independence gained from being one’s own boss, personal freedom,
personal satisfaction, a less rigid, more flexible lifestyle, and more job satisfaction are
more likely to be of greater importance than rational economic goals (Brush 1992;
LeCornu at al. 1996; Wiklund, Davidsson & Delmar 2003). This is substantiated by
Fielden, Davidson & Makin (2000) who found that although a large proportion of
their sample (88%) initially listed making money as a primary goal for being in
business, further probing revealed that, for at least 71% of owner-managers, job
satisfaction, greater independence, creating opportunities, encountering new
challenges and pursuing one’s own interests were criteria which were of real
importance to them.
Broadly, affective outcomes are linked to intrinsic lifestyle issues which are outside
conventional economic paradigms. These affective outcomes are also referred to as
‘psychic rewards’ (Owen, Carsky & Dolan 1992) or ‘psychic income’ (Wheelock &
Baines 1998) and are often important for p eople who have not necessary been as
financially successful as economic theory assumes or expects businesses to be. As
Jennings and Beaver (1997, p. 63) stated:
“Contrary to popular belief, and a great deal of economic theory,
money and the pursuit of a personal financial fortune are not as
significant as the desire for personal involvement, responsibility and
the independent quality and style of life which many small business
owner-managers strive to achieve. Consequently, the attainment of
these objectives becomes one of the principal criteria for success, as
defined by the entrepreneur/owner-manager.”
IMPLICATIONS
Returning to the issue of understanding why the majority of SMEs do not engage in
strategic planning, the basic thrust of research undertaken to date has been to identify
barriers to planning. As Gibson and Cassar (2005) observed, research is typically
driven by a normative desire to establish ‘best practice’ management activities for
SMEs to implement. Given that ‘real world’ relevancy and application of research is
important, it is vital that researchers in the strategic planning area recognise that the
motivations of owner-managers are fundamental to the basic operations of SMEs.
These motivations influence such things as managerial style, organisational structure
and culture, decision-making, pattern of business development and the level of
strategic activity (i.e., whether and how much strategic planning is carried out) within
the enterprise (Beaver 2003).
In reality, many SME owner-managers are in business to pursue primarily personal,
non-economic goals and most have “capped” or “limited” desires in relation to
business performance and expansion (LeCornu et al. 1996, p.11). Beyond a certain
point, these owner-managers will deliberately ignore opportunities to increase profits
and growth and, likewise, deliberately ignore any exultation to apply ‘best practice’
Wang, Walker & Redmond Explaining the Lack of Strategic Planning in
SMEs: The Importance of Owner Motivation
10
management activities (including but not limited to strategic planning) to pursue these
outcomes (Storey, 1994; Beaver & Jennings 2000; Shepherd & Wiklund 2005).
In relation to this special issue’s theme of enhancing the capabilities of SMEs, this
article argues two points. One, that the antecedents of planning have not been
properly accounted for and; two, that studies investigating the lack of strategic
planning in SMEs have focused inappropriately on solely economic outcomes.
Although often studied as a collective, SMEs are in reality a very heterogeneous
group of enterprises with diverse reasons for being. This article proposes that it is
necessary to first differentiate “the entrepreneur from the enterprise”, and “the
entrepreneur from the owner-manager” (Beaver & Jennings 1995, p.98). It should not
be taken for granted that all owner-managers will naturally engage in strategic
planning simply because it is advantageous to the performance of SMEs and
“numerous researchers… advocate [it]” (Miller & Cardinal 1994, p.1649). This
implies that a targeted approach (e.g., one that identifies and selects only SMEs with
strong growth intentions for ‘enhancement’ assistance in strategic planning or other
areas of need) is needed if, for example, governments, researchers and others
interested in the sustained development of SMEs are to effectively encourage and
support growth of the sector.
SUMMARY
This article has highlighted inherent problems with how extant research approaches
the apparent problem of why SMEs do not strategically plan. Ownership motivations
are central to understanding the planning practices in SMEs and these are an
alternative explanation to the common focus on barriers to strategic planning to
account for the lack or low levels of such planning in many SMEs. The article argues
that levels of strategic planning are higher in SMEs which have owner-managers who
are growth orientated and lower in those which have owner-managers who pursue
non-economic personal agendas (Figure 2). What should be acknowledged is that
many owner-managers of SMEs do not want to grow, are happy with staying small
and at one end of the continuum, some are simply ‘buying’ themselves employment.
This is not necessarily a bad thing but highlights that many businesses are not
‘entrepreneurial’ and will never engage in active growth activities including strategic
planning. Consequently, ownership motivation—not organisational barriers to
planning—must be taken as a starting point to understanding and ‘solving’ the issue
of why most SMEs do not engage in strategic planning.
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... Many business management specialists argue that even on the availability of such resources, some SMEs still fail due to a lack of strategic planning. According to research, most small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) do not engage in strategic planning or at least such planning is sporadic and informal (e.g., Robinson & Pearce, 1984;Sexton & van Auken, 1985;Berman et al. 1997;Orser et al. 2000;Sandberg et al. 2001;Beaver 2003;Wang et al. 2007 it also aims to highlight the key factors both internal and external that influence the success of strategic planning in Moroccan SMEs. ...
... Strategic planning is one aspect of the strategic management process (Figure 1). It improves business performance (Wang et al. 2007;Majama et al. 2017;Khohtria, 2018), and is a crucial element for the success of any business Christou (2015). Several academics have discovered and described the value of strategic planning as a process and a predictor of success (Dutton & Duncan, 1987;Dyson & Foster, 1982;Greenley 1994;Ramanujam & Venkatraman, 1987;Sinha 1990;Greenley & Foxall, 1997, Cited by Chawki & Ait Lemqeddem, 2021. ...
... The SME has always been considered as a company that does not practice formal strategic planning (Stoner 1983;Shrader 1989;Sexton & Auken, 1985;Robinson et al. 1984;Hidde & Masurel, 2000;Abosede et al. 2016) or at least its practice is done in a sporadic and inconsistent way (Sexton & Auken, 1985;Lobontiu 2002, Goy & Paturel, 2004Balasundaram, 2009;Wang et al. 2007;Benyetho & Missaoui, 2018). This planning is marked by a lack of information revealed to be ineffective and obtained from informal sources (Gibb & Scott, 1985;Abosede et al. 2016;Chak 1998;Estrada et al., 2009cited by Lema et al. 2012). ...
... SMEs are often unable to implement adequate accounting systems because of a lack of resources (Ismail, 2002;Lohr, 2012;Marcelino-S adaba et al., 2014;Mitter et al., 2020). For instance, SMEs often lack awareness and understanding of the relevance of accounting information (Ismail, 2002), and planning is more ad hoc and intuitive than formal (written) (Wang et al., 2007). ...
... Although planning and control are often simple and informal in SMEs, they are highly relevant to strategic planning and realignment. While planning in SMEs is more ad hoc and intuitive than formal (written) (Wang et al., 2007), the process of (formal) planning itself has a positive effect, as it leads to an improved understanding of the business (Kraus et al., 2007), which is a necessary precondition for reorganization and overcoming financial crises (Mayr et al., 2017). Formal planning is closely related to a clear estimation, evaluation and allocation of financial, human and production resources. ...
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Purpose - Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) often lack adequate accounting systems and may even fail because of accounting inefficiencies. Indeed, accounting can mitigate the course of a crisis and support a troubled SME's turnaround. Its impact on reorganization success, however, has scarcely been researched so far. Therefore, this paper aims to examine the effects of several accounting parameters, namely, the quality of accounting systems, quality of early warning systems, formal planning, the standard of financial accounting and reorganization planning on the short-and long-term success of court-supervised reorganization. Design/methodology/approach - The impact of accounting on reorganization success is investigated in a sample of all SME bankruptcy cases with ten or more employees (n = 117) in Upper Austria in 2012 including data for short-term survival (in 2016) and long-term survival (in 2019). Findings - This study found evidence that the general quality of accounting systems, the quality of early warning systems and written reorganization plans positively influence the outcomes of the analyzed court-supervised reorganizations of SMEs. In particular, the existence of a reorganization plan significantly increases the short-and long-term reorganization success by ensuring the efficient and effective use of resources in the reorganization process. Practical implications - This study should increase the awareness of SMEs’ owner managers, consultants, creditors and legislators for the importance of accounting in the context of reorganization. The fact that the effect of accounting on reorganization success is less pronounced in the long-term view indicates the necessity of increasing the strategic focus in SMEs’ accounting instruments. Originality/value - This study provides new evidence on the impact of specific accounting parameters on the short- and long-term success of the court-supervised reorganization of SMEs. Furthermore, this study points out the high relevance of reorganization plans for SMEs.
... Many investigations have shown that the majority of SMEs are not so inclined to apply strategic planning (Robinson & Pearce, 1984;Sexton & Van Auken, 1985;Berman, Gordon & Sussman, 1997;Beaver, 2003) and there is no or a little bit strategic planning in most of SMEs (Wang, Walker & Redmond, 2007). According to Jones (1982) and Gaskill, Van Auken and Manning (1993), and Brouthers, Andriessen, & Nicolaes (1998) SMEs are more interested in short-term operational Planning than long-term strategic solutions and the decisionmaking is rather inactive than to be proactive; while any organization in any size should start strategic planning in order to gain competitive advantages and to achieve success (Hassangholipour &Aghazadeh, 2005: 68;Aliahmadi, Fathollah, & Tajodin, 2003). ...
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Nowadays, small and medium enterprises seem increasingly important and their remarkable role in the economic and local development is undeniable. The present evidences indicate that most of such enterprises lack long-term perspectives and are not interested in using strategic planning. This article has tried to implement strategic planning for an example of SME in the field of tourism industry (which has been strongly deprived of such studies) in the developing country of Islamic Republic of Iran and to formulate optimal strategies for it. Finally, strategic management requirements and planning considerations for a SME in the developing countries were examined and discussed. The findings of the research show that the optimal and chosen strategies in the developing countries and especially, the population under study will be usually competitive or defensive ones, because they are encountering countless environmental threats.
... In practice, SMEs tend to orientate towards short-term operational rather than long-term strategic issues, and decision-making tends to be reactive rather than proactive (Mazzarol, 2004;Stonehouse & Pemberton, 2002). In SMEs that claim to plan, plans are frequently ad hoc and intuitive rather than formally written and provide the little basis upon which business performance can be measured or analysed (O'Regan & Ghobadian, 2002;Wang et al., 2011). However, not much is currently known about how small business managers actually perceive strategic management, and thus what strategy actually means to them in their everyday business (Kutllovci & Shala, 2013). ...
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