The use of strategy tools and frameworks by SMEs in the strategy formation process

Journal article

Bellamy, LC, Amoo, N, Mervyn, K and Hiddlestone-Mumford, J (2019). The use of strategy tools and frameworks by SMEs in the strategy formation process. International Journal of Organizational Analysis. 27 (2), pp. 337-367.
AuthorsBellamy, LC, Amoo, N, Mervyn, K and Hiddlestone-Mumford, J

© 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited.
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the use of tools and techniques of strategy and strategic analysis within small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as a part of the strategy formation process.

Design/methodology/approach: This study uses a qualitative, multiple-case-based investigation with semi-structured interviews and secondary data sources to create a context-rich insight to the area examined.

Findings: The findings indicate a strong orientation towards operational tools deployment aligned with financial management and resources and process planning, monitoring and control. Strategic perspectives of the respondents indicate an implicit, rather than explicit deployment of strategy tools and unstructured deployment, but general awareness of the resulting component issues. Clearer strategic approaches and strong implementation appear to positively influence success, when measured by growth.

Research limitations/implications: This study is limited to nine organisations within a UK geographic region, and therefore, larger-scale investigation would be beneficial to extend and confirm the findings in differing contexts.

Practical implications: With resource scarcity potentially stymying the opportunity for owner-managers to develop more structured approaches to strategic analysis and development, consideration should be given to how owner-managers can further develop their strategic thinking to support enhanced strategic outcomes for their organisations. Furthermore, strategy educationalists may wish to reflect upon the manner in which they prepare delegates for strategic roles, where the SME context may differ radically from corporate experience.

Originality/value: The methodology for this study differs substantially from previous investigations within the field, which has had relatively few contributions, as it uses in-depth, context-rich qualitative techniques to investigate the micro-processes at play. The conclusions capture new insights and indications and identify areas for further investigation, hence adding to the understanding of a complex and heterogeneous field.

KeywordsStrategy Tools; Frameworks; SME; Strategy Formation; Process
JournalInternational Journal of Organizational Analysis
Journal citation27 (2), pp. 337-367
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
Print24 Apr 2019
Publication process dates
Accepted24 Mar 2019
Deposited15 Jun 2020
Accepted author manuscript
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License: CC BY 4.0
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