How do Australian SMEs plan?

Paper


Wiesner, Retha and Millett, Bruce. 2009. "How do Australian SMEs plan?" 22nd Annual Small Enterprise Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference (SEAANZ 2009). Wellington, New Zealand 31 Aug - 02 Sep 2009 Wellington, New Zealand.
Paper/Presentation Title

How do Australian SMEs plan?

Presentation TypePaper
AuthorsWiesner, Retha (Author) and Millett, Bruce (Author)
Journal or Proceedings TitleProceedings of the 22nd Annual Conference of the Small Enterprise Association of Australia and New Zealand (SEAANZ 2009)
ERA Conference ID60030
Number of Pages32
Year2009
Place of PublicationWellington, New Zealand
ISBN9780958281072
Web Address (URL) of Paperhttp://seaanzconference.massey.ac.nz/
Conference/Event22nd Annual Small Enterprise Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference (SEAANZ 2009)
Annual Conference of the Small Enterprise Association of Australia and New Zealand
Event Details
22nd Annual Small Enterprise Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference (SEAANZ 2009)
Event Date
31 Aug 2009 to end of 02 Sep 2009
Event Location
Wellington, New Zealand
Event Details
Annual Conference of the Small Enterprise Association of Australia and New Zealand
Abstract

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.

KeywordsSMEs; planning; Australia
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020350716. Small business organisation and management
380109. Industry economics and industrial organisation
350711. Organisational planning and management
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Management and Marketing
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