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Towards Increased Strategy Involvement of Boards in SMEs: A qualitative study mapping obstacles and exploring solutions for boards' involvement in strategy
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Strategy involvement of boards in small and medium-sized businesses has not been given adequate focus in contemporary research. The main concern has been on exploring the phenomenon in large corporations, which means that the field remains fairly unexplored. The purpose of this study is two folded. Firstly we want to understand what obstacles boards of small and medium-sized businesses face for strategy involvement. Secondly we want to generate new insights and knowledge about how these obstacles can be tackled. In order to accomplish these goals we assume the following two research questions:

Research Question 1: Are there any obstacles in the way for strategy involvement of boards in small and medium-sized businesses?

Research Question 2: What solutions are there to overcome these obstacles for strategy involvement of boards in small and medium-sized businesses?

The first question aims to explore and map potential obstacles for strategy involvement, whereas the second question addresses potential solutions. By utilizing a qualitative approach and interviews we want to better understand the context. Our goal of using this method was to reveal motives and opinions to get a better understanding of how small and medium-sized businesses deal with strategy issues. The participants held various positions within small and medium-sized businesses in Sweden. CEOs, directors and busy directors participated in semi-structured interviews.

This study is based upon two frameworks. Firstly we constructed an obstacle framework consisting of five obstacles derived from existing literature. Secondly we made a solution framework, which includes potential solutions connected to the obstacles, also derived from contemporary research. These two frameworks were then used to see what opinions our participants held about them.

The data were analyzed by performing a thematic analysis. The idea of using this technique was to identify themes participants held in common. We found some patterns among the respondents which led us to revise both of the frameworks.

The main finding of this study is that the presence of a board role conflict seems to be very limited in the context of small and medium-sized businesses. We furthermore found that there are differences in how to solve obstacles in regards to firm size. Two of the suggested solution in existing literature was found to be irrelevant for small and medium-sized businesses. Namely that it is not necessary to get CEOs to embrace strategy involvement, and stopping CEOs from handing over deceiving information is not solved by changing incentives. We also found patterns of two new solutions which were added in the revised solution framework. The first solution involves having regular strategy sessions and meetings. The second solution suggests that it can be advantageous to replace directors uncommitted to strategizing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 96 p.
Keyword [en]
SME, SMEs, small and medium-sized, small and medium-sized business, small and medium-sized enterprise, family held, family owned, family business, governance, corporate governance, board, boards, board of directors, strategy, strategic, strategizing, involvement, involved, collaboration, collaborating
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-109984OAI: diva2:860034
Educational program
Study Programme in Business Administration and Economics
Available from: 2015-10-13 Created: 2015-10-09 Last updated: 2015-10-13Bibliographically approved

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