Leaders, loungers, laggards: the strategic-planning-environment-performance relationship re-visited in manufacturing SMEs
O'Regan, N., Sims, M. A. and Gallear, D. (2008) Leaders, loungers, laggards: the strategic-planning-environment-performance relationship re-visited in manufacturing SMEs. Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, 19 (1). pp. 6-21. ISSN 1741-038X
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/17410380810843426
Purpose – This paper aims to assess the link between strategic-planning, aspects of the external environment and overall corporate performance in manufacturing SMEs. Design/methodology/approach – A self-reported postal survey was used to collect data from an initial sample of 1,000 randomly selected small and medium sized UK electronics and engineering firms. Prior to its deployment a number a staged approach was used to validate the questionnaire with a number of adjustments made following the pilot stage. A T-test was used to examine the difference between early and late informants' response to key questions. Based on this test and telephone contact with non-respondents, the authors conclude that non-response is not a significant issue and should not affect their conclusions. Data reliability was confirmed using Cronbach's a – a commonly used statistical tool to consider data reliability when perceptual measures are used. Findings – The findings indicate that the degree of awareness of external environment threats is associated with the degree of overall emphasis on the strategic-planning process. Strategic-planning in manufacturing SMEs is positively linked to overall corporate performance. The findings suggest the need to align the degree of emphasis on strategic-planning and environmental awareness. Originality/value – External operating environment threats are often ignored or at best marginalized by SMEs. The findings of this study emphasize the need to focus on strategic-planning and to ensure alignment with the external operating environment.