How do Australian SMEs plan?

Wiesner, Retha and Millett, Bruce (2009) How do Australian SMEs plan? In: 22nd Annual Small Enterprise Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference (SEAANZ 2009), 31 Aug - 2 Sep, 2009, Wellington, New Zealand.

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The objective of this paper is to report on survey research focused on strategic planning in small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) aimed at exploring how Australian SMEs plan. More specifically, answers to the following questions are sought across 1230 Australian SMEs utilising survey methodology: 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 planning practices undertaken in Australian SMEs. Most of the research undertaken to date within the Australian context has been directed towards identifying the value of planning and investigating the presence or absence of formal planning in small businesses. 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. This contradicts the notion that SMEs tend to employ an ‘emergent’ strategic approach. Furthermore, even though both small and medium Australian enterprises tend to employ a deliberate approach, it is clear that medium enterprises employ written strategic/business plans significantly more than small organisations. This confirms previous research that larger firms tend to undertake strategic action within a framework of a written business plan to a greater extent than small firms. The mere fact that SMEs plan and adopt planning suggests positive benefits, however even though Australian SMEs seem to employ a deliberate approach to strategy making, few sophisticated planning techniques were employed. As a result strategic management courses targeted to SMEs will be well advised to focus on less time-consuming and expensive tools to use that are more suited to the needs of SMEs.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Business - School of Management and Marketing
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2017 06:21
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2017 06:22
Uncontrolled Keywords: SMEs; planning; Australia
Fields of Research : 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150314 Small Business Management
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
Socio-Economic Objective: B Economic Development > 91 Economic Framework > 9104 Management and Productivity > 910402 Management

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