The strategy of successful entrepreneurs in small business : vision, relationships and anticipatory learning.
There are four parts to the thesis: Part I presents a review of
the literature, a discussion and finally proposes a definition of
the main concepts studied: entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, small
business owner-manager and small-medium sized manufacturing
Part 2 presents an overview of organisation theory and explains
our selection of content as well as of container approaches to
study the phenomenon of the small business and its growth. It
leads us to introduce the field of strategy, to go over a review
of the essential literature on small business strategy and to
discuss it. It also leads us to introduce systems approaches and
to discuss the strategy behind the evolution of the systems
approach we identify as best to study small business: soft
systems methodology, as developed by Peter Checkland.
Part 3 presents the way we have looked at the small business as
well as at the entrepreneurs and/or small business owner-managers
we have studied in four different countries. It explains the
choice of the research methodology, a qualitative one:
interviews. It also presents some findings, essentially that
entrepreneurs project a vision, they build a relations system to
realise it, and successful ones show a capacity to engage in
anticipatory learning to make the projected vision become
Part 4 discusses these findings and their use in understanding
what makes entrepreneurs successful. We propose a model that
incorporates the research findings. It is based on the
relationship between the vision, the relations with people who
will help make it happen, and the anticipatory learning which the
entrepreneur does to be prepared and able to realise the vision.
Our main contribution seems to be the model. Many of the other
findings relate to things which already exist in the literature.
What is new is the way these concepts are linked and integrated
in a model that could be called a "strategic entrepreneurial