Best Practice and Absence of Strategy

Auftraggeber: ABA Management AG
Autoren: Angelo Amonini, Armin Baumann

Management Summary
Creating a management strategy in Small & Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) is a topic that has so far only been covered marginally in business education, management theory, leadership training and organizational development. Additionally, the specifics of Small & Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) versus large companies are often not taken into account fully when it comes to design and implementation of a managing tool called „management strategy'. Because many small and medium sized companies (SMEs) lack vast hierarchical management, levels including top executive’s traditional behavior, and lack an explicit management strategy containing extended policy and decision making, SMEs have developed several other means of managing their business successfully.

This thesis covers aspects of management practice in SMEs. First and foremost, it tries to establish a new classification code for managing SMEs, allowing a clear distinction of the phenomenon „strategy absence'. In a second step, aspects of creating and implementing a management strategy will be covered, dependent on the SMEs focus. Third, this work evaluates specific tools introduced by management literature that are applied by strategy- absent companies. Fourth, results from our survey provide a variety of hands-on recommendations that help manage particular SMEs. All these elements are supported by the theoretical analysis related to background and nature of SMEs, including a review of „strategy absence' definitions and models.

This thesis includes results of an online survey conducted with founders and top executives from 183 Swiss companies. The study of alternative tools in management strategy literature („absent- strategy-tools') and the evaluation of all data of our survey make obsolete the question whether a SME follows a management strategy or not. Crucial question rather is: Are you aware of the eleven management beliefs of „great' Swiss SMEs? And do you know the nine pathways from „good' to „great' Swiss SMEs? These new findings may help avoid the pitfalls of an elaborate „wrong? management strategy deriving from the management strategy-hype.

Theory on strategic management applies to all companies of all sizes in both local and global economy. The eleven findings and the nine pathways from „good’’ to „great’’ Swiss SMEs move the „corporate strategy’’ to second place. For specifics on managing Swiss small & mid-business, however, the new findings may lead to a bright future of an SME.

Im Rahmen seiner Doktorarbeit hat Herr Angelo Amonini eine Studie durchgeführt, indem er die Führungsgrundsätze und -Methoden in kleinen und mittleren Unternehmen erarbeitet und bewertet hat. Er leitete diese Umfrage und führte eine Befragung durch. Sämtliche Branchen der KMUs wurden befragt. Dabei wurde es von KMU SWISS unterstützt.

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