Strategic approaches in Australian SMEs: deliberate or emergent?

Wiesner, Retha ORCID: and Millett, Bruce (2012) Strategic approaches in Australian SMEs: deliberate or emergent? Journal of Management and Organization, 18 (1). pp. 98-122. ISSN 1833-3672


The aim of this paper is to determine whether Australian SMEs could be characterised as 'deliberate' or 'emergent' in their strategic approaches. More specifically, surveying 1230 Australian SMEs, this paper focuses on answers to the following questions: What is the nature and prevalence of strategic practices in Australian SMEs? and to what extent does firm size differentiate the patterning and prevalence of strategic practices? The findings add to the little empirical research showing the principal activities and tools that comprise the strategic practices undertaken in Australian SMEs. Overall, and in both small and medium enterprises respectively, strategic thinking and action seem to be undertaken with the use of a framework of a written business plan which is in line with the 'deliberate' approach; however few sophisticated strategy making techniques were employed. Researchers and practitioners may find it valuable to develop tools that will naturally suit SME firms so that these tools can be of more value. Academics and tertiary institutions will be well advised to develop strategic management courses which also specifically focus on more emergent approaches designed for smaller firms including specially developed techniques and tools that are less time-consuming and expensive to use and more suited to smaller firms. This would enable SMEs to expand the range of strategy making tools they employ.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Please contact the author Retha Wiesner at for any queries regarding this article. See link to published version online. Copyright of published articles is held by eContent Management Pty Ltd. No limitation will be placed on the personal freedom of authors to copy or to use in subsequent work, material contained in their papers. Please contact the Publisher for clarification if you are unsure of the use of copyright material. Apart from fair dealing for the purposes of research and private study, or criticism and or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 of Australia, this publication may only be reproduced, stored or transmitted, in any form or by any means, with the prior permission in writing of the Publishers.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business and Law - School of Management and Marketing (1 Jan 2011 - 30 Jun 2013)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business and Law - School of Management and Marketing (1 Jan 2011 - 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2012 09:33
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2021 03:45
Uncontrolled Keywords: deliberate strategic approach; emergent strategic approach; small and medium-sized enterprises; Australia
Fields of Research (2008): 14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140209 Industry Economics and Industrial Organisation
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150312 Organisational Planning and Management
Fields of Research (2020): 38 ECONOMICS > 3801 Applied economics > 380109 Industry economics and industrial organisation
35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3507 Strategy, management and organisational behaviour > 350711 Organisational planning and management
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970115 Expanding Knowledge in Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
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