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Title: To understand the nature of, and changes in, decision-making, strategy, and marketing activities in small firms over time and to examine the internal and external factors contributing to these changes
Author: Cummins, Darryl
Awarding Body: University of Ulster
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2013
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The aim of this thesis was to examine the changes in decision-making, strategy and marketing activities in small firms over time and also to examine the key factors which have contributed to these changes. The work presents the findings from a longitudinal research study conducted covering a 15-year time period. It is this longitudinal dimension which arguably provides the greatest value of the thesis and the aspect which makes the greatest contribution to increasing knowledge of the subject area. No other study has examined these phenomena over such an extended time period. Qualitative research by means of a case study approach was undertaken. The primary source of data collection was a series of depth interviews conducted with the owner/managers of the case firms at various points over the time period. This was supplemented by observation and document analysis. Analysis was conducted on a firm-by-firm and cross-case basis. The overall conclusion is that there have been fundamental changes in the decision-making, strategy and marketing activities of small firms over time. These changes have been driven by both external factors (primarily the growth of the Internet and economic circumstances) and internal factors (the development of firms’ competencies and resources). Age and stage of the firm is also important; as firms develop and move through their life cycle, and as owner/managers develop their competencies over time, they change the way they do business generally and how they approach decision-making, strategy and marketing specifically. These, and other, key findings are discussed and presented in the conclusions chapter. While this thesis makes a significant contribution to the advancement of knowledge in this area (especially to educators and policy makers), there is further scope and opportunity to develop and build on this research in the future.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available