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Title: Patterns of strategic choice of small firm owners and managers
Author: Gimenez, Fernando A. P.
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 1995
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This study explored how small firms' owner-managers view competition in their business environment and how this view may be associated with specific strategic choices. Its main research question dealt with why different small firms' owner-managers choose different competitive strategies in a given industry setting. One of its main contentions was that in examining this phenomenon it was necessary first to explore the mental categorisations which guide the entrepreneurs' understanding of their competitive environments. The study was also concerned with integrating an array of concepts (strategy formation. individual cognitive stylistic preferences, and perceived environmental dynamism) into a single model of strategic choice in the context of small firms. An exploration of Miles and Snow's (1978) taxonomy of strategic types in conjunction with Kirton's (1976) Adaption-Innovation theory offered possibilities for identifying linkages between strategic choices and cognitive processes. Furthermore, by (exploring different environmental contexts the study focused on external influences on strategic choice formation.) Three models that could permit empirical testing of relationships among cognitive style, environmental turbulence, and strategic choice have been described. Model 1 assumed that strategic choice was influenced significantly by both environmental turbulence and cognitive style. Model 2 inferred that perceived variations in strategic choice could be explained through cognitive styles, but not environmental turbulence. Finally, model 3 rejected the cognitive biases introduced by stylistic differences, and retained the rationality assumption of strategic choice. Three empirical studies were developed. Studies 1 and 2 involved samples of small firm entrepreneurs and were developed with two main objectives: (1) to describe the cognitive structure related to competition adopted by small firm owner-managers; and (2) to identify patterns of strategic choices in different business sectors with differing levels of environmental turbulence. The third study with two larger business-oriented samples (N1 = 66; N2 = 57) explored the relationships among strategy formation, environmental turbulence and cognitive styles under quasi-experimental conditions. The studies gave strong evidence in favour of Model 3 in which individual cognitive styles measured by KAI inventory played no significant part in the strategic choice process.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available