Institutional analysis of strategic choice of micro, small, and medium enterprises: development of a conceptual framework.Abstract
This paper presents a conceptual framework For the concept in aesthetics and art criticism, see .
A conceptual framework is used in research to outline possible courses of action or to present a preferred approach to a system analysis project. showing formal and informal institutions and their relationship with the strategic choice of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in a developing country setting. It emphasises how institutions at sub-national level (such as a region or city) influence the strategic orientations of MSMEs as many developing countries in Asia are undergoing decentralisation n. 1. same as decentralization.
Noun 1. decentralisation - the spread of power away from the center to local branches or governments
spreading, spread - act of extending over a wider scope or expanse of space or time whereby sub-national government authorities are given more political, economic, fiscal, and administrative powers. Furthermore, it sheds more insights on the environmental (institutional) determinism-organisational (strategic) choice nexus. It offers propositions, questions as well as issues worth pursuing in empirical investigations in the future.
If the micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME MSME Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
MSME Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering
MSME Mack Scogin Merrill Elam (Architects; Atlanta, GA) ) sector is an engine of economic growth, then the local institutional framework is the steering wheel. This is the underlying theme of this study. Its main thesis is that formal and informal institutions emanating from the economic, political, and socio-cultural environments at a sub-national level such as a region or city significantly influence the strategic directions of MSMEs operating in that locality 1. locality - In sequential architectures programs tend to access data that has been accessed recently (temporal locality) or that is at an address near recently referenced data (spatial locality). This is the basis for the speed-up obtained with a cache memory.
2. . In many developing countries characterised by government deregulation Deregulation
The reduction or elimination of government power in a particular industry, usually enacted to create more competition within the industry.
Traditional areas that have been deregulated are the telephone and airline industries. and decentralisation, national institutions do matter but sub-national institutions matter even more.
However, the liability of smallness is known to be inherent among these MSMEs (Lall, 2000). This liability explains that despite their potential to contribute to economic growth, MSMEs are unable to compete well due to exogenous Exogenous
Describes facts outside the control of the firm. Converse of endogenous. and endogenous endogenous /en·dog·e·nous/ (en-doj´e-nus) produced within or caused by factors within the organism.
1. Originating or produced within an organism, tissue, or cell. constraints (Harvie and Lee, 2002; Kirby and Watson, 2003; Brown, Earle Brown, Earle (1926– ) composer; born in Lunenburg, Mass. In the 1950s he began to write highly influential avant-garde works in "open form," giving performers wide choices, the scores sometimes being noteless diagrams. He was also an active teacher. and Lup, 2005; Fogel, Hawk, Morck and Yeung, 2006). Institutional analysis has been used in a variety of ways to diagnose and offer remedies to the functional, performance, and competitiveness issues associated with MSMEs (Basu 1998; Busenitz, Gomez and Spencer, 2000; Carlsson, 2002; Carney car·ney
Variant of carny. and Gedajlovic, 2002). One stream of institutional theory that is replete re·plete
1. Abundantly supplied; abounding: a stream replete with trout; an apartment replete with Empire furniture.
2. Filled to satiation; gorged.
3. with controversy is the new institutional theory of Douglas North Douglas North is a House of Keys constituency in Douglas, Isle of Man. It elects 2 MHKs. MHKs & Elections
Year Election Turnout Candidates Elected Notes
1903 General Election Unoppossed
The current debate on North's work centres on how to operationalise formal and informal institutions (Glaeser, La Porta, Silanes and Shleifer, 2004; Helmke and Levitsky, 2004; Gambarotto and Solari, 2005; Vatn, 2005; Demirbas, 2006; Fergusson, 2006). Furthermore, as typical institutional analysis has been repeatedly applied in country-wide settings, a growing interest is on understanding the institutional framework at the sub-national levels such as a state, region or city (Busenitz et al, 2000; Brouthers, 2002; Meyer and Nguyen, 2005). The argument is that while national institutions do matter, it is important to recognise that there are may be institutional disparities between and amongst sub-national geoeconomic and political areas within the same national boundary especially in countries with diverse multicultural identifications situated in dispersed dis·perse
v. dis·persed, dis·pers·ing, dis·pers·es
a. To drive off or scatter in different directions: The police dispersed the crowd.
b. geographic locations (Meyer and Nguyen, 2005).
Another issue concerns the use of institutional analysis to describe national entrepreneurial (that is, SME (1) (Small and Medium-sized Enterprise) See SMB.
(2) (Subject Matter Expert) An individual who is well-versed in the policies and procedures of a particular department or division. ) development. Typical studies tend to examine the institutional factors to explain national or regional aggregate measures of economic and/or entrepreneurial productivity (North, 1990; Ahmadi, 2003; Glaeser et al, 2004; Tabellini, 2005; Welter and Smallbone, 2005). While this could be helpful in macro economic analysis, most helpful for the MSME sector is to understand how specific institutional forms directly influence firm-level variables such as the functional activities and performance of firms.
This study hopes to contribute more insights if not remedies to the issues and research gaps identified above. Specifically, it attempts to present the development of a conceptual framework illustrating the institutional environment that is argued to shape the strategic choice of MSMEs. It discusses the following issues: (a) formal and informal institutions under the new institutional theory; (b) decentralisation; (c) the role of MSME in economic development; (d) strategic choice; and (e) link between institutions and strategic posture of MSMEs.
Review of Literature
New Institutional Theory
The seminal work A seminal work is a work from which other works grow. The term usually refers to an intellectual or artistic achievement whose ideas and techniques have been adopted or responded to in later works by other people, either in the same field or in the general culture. of Douglas North in the field of new institutional economics (North, 1992) has inspired numerous studies on the institutional theory. North (1992) broadly defines institutions as the "rules of the game" or humanly hu·man·ly
1. In a human way.
2. Within the scope of human means, capabilities, or powers: not humanly possible.
3. devised structures that provide incentives and constraints to economic players. It suggests that these economic players are embedded Inserted into. See embedded system. in an external environment characterised by high degree of uncertainty and transaction costs Transaction Costs
Costs incurred when buying or selling securities. These include brokers' commissions and spreads (the difference between the price the dealer paid for a security and the price they can sell it). (Baum and Oliver 1992; Hollingsworth, 2002). The presence of economic uncertainty makes it costly for MSMEs to transact An earlier e-commerce system for the Web from Open Market that included order capture and secure order fulfillment using credit cards, ecash and other payment systems. It included customer service and subscription administration capabilities as well as an integrated database for reporting . Institutions are formed to reduce this uncertainty by setting the "rules of the game" in the form of formal rules, informal norms, and their enforcement characteristics (North, 1992, 2005).
Likewise, the same rules of the game provide the constraints and incentives that encourage the economic players, say MSMEs, to switch from unproductive to productive activity, and ultimately improve the general economic well-being of a society (North, 1990). The extant literature Extant literature refers to texts that have survived from the past to the present time. Extant literature can be divided into extant original manuscripts, copies of original manuscripts, quotations and paraphrases of passages of non-extant texts contained in other works, has shown that institutions take the form of rules (Ostrom, 2005), collective action (Parto, 2005), and structures (North, 1992).
North's new institutional theory explains that there are two types of institutions: formal and informal. Formal institutions refer to written laws laws deriving their force from express legislative enactment, as contradistinguished from unwritten, or common, law. See the Note under Law, and
See also: Write , policies, regulations, political and economic rules, and contracts (North, 1990).
On the other hand, informal institutions are referred to by North (1990) as codes of conduct, norms of behaviour, and social conventions that generally emanate em·a·nate
intr. & tr.v. em·a·nat·ed, em·a·nat·ing, em·a·nates
To come or send forth, as from a source: light that emanated from a lamp; a stove that emanated a steady heat. from a society's culture. Informal rules are considered unwritten LAW, UNWRITTEN, or lex non scripta. All the laws which do not come under the definition of written law; it is composed, principally, of the law of nature, the law of nations, the common law, and customs. rules that are created, communicated, and enforced outside officially sanctioned channels (Helrnke and Levitsky, 2004). Their enforcement takes place by way of sanctions such as expulsion EXPULSION. The act of depriving a member of a body politic, corporate, or of a society, of his right of membership therein, by the vote of such body or society, for some violation of hi's. from the community, ostracism ostracism (ŏs`trəsĭz'əm), ancient Athenian method of banishing a public figure. It was introduced after the fall of the family of Pisistratus. by friends and neighbours, or loss of reputation (Pejovich, 1999).
While there is a plethora of studies that have examined the role of formal institutions (Clingermayer and Feiock, 2001; Carlsson, 2002; Carney and Gedajlovic, 2002; Veciana, Aponte and Urbano, 2002; Co, 2004), studies that attempt to operationalise North's informal institutions are very scarce and divergent di·ver·gent
1. Drawing apart from a common point; diverging.
2. Departing from convention.
3. Differing from another: a divergent opinion.
4. in their approaches. The very scarce empirical studies Empirical studies in social sciences are when the research ends are based on evidence and not just theory. This is done to comply with the scientific method that asserts the objective discovery of knowledge based on verifiable facts of evidence. on informal institutions looked at socio-cultural factors such as kinship, community networks, religion, norms, and values as manifestations of informal institutions having varying degrees of influence on human or organisational behaviour (Hill, 1995; Pejovich, 1999; Veciana et al, 2002; Nkya, 2003; Tabellini, 2005; Fogel et al, 2006). Indeed there is an abundance of conceptual discussions on informal institutions coupled with a drought of empirical studies to operationalise the same (Helmke and Levitsky, 2004). One explanation for this could be that North's seminal work did not specifically come up with operational definitions of formal and informal institutions to guide empirical investigations.
Decentralisation of Governance
A focus on institutional environment at the city level is justified by the wave ofdecentralisation taking place in a number of developing countries, including Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Pakistan, India, Bhutan, and Thailand. Decentralisation in these countries is characterised by national governments assigning state powers, responsibilities and resources to sub-national authorities (Wescott and Porter, 2002). This is a process of restructuring or reorganisation Noun 1. reorganisation - the imposition of a new organization; organizing differently (often involving extensive and drastic changes); "a committee was appointed to oversee the reorganization of the curriculum"; "top officials were forced out in the cabinet of political, fiscal, and administrative authority whereby the authority and capabilities of government units at sub-national levels are substantially increased (Work, 2001). However, studies on the implementation of decentralisation reveal that results were lacklustre lacklustre or US lackluster
lacking brilliance, force, or vitality
Adj. 1. lacklustre - lacking brilliance or vitality; "a dull lackluster life"; "a lusterless performance" due to the underdeveloped un·der·de·vel·oped
Not adequately or normally developed; immature. institutional capacity at sub-national levels (Work, 2001; Wescott and Porter, 2002).
Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)
The role of MSMEs in economic development cannot be overemphasised. Comprising over 98 per cent of total enterprises in the Asia-Pacific region (APEC APEC
in full Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Trade group established in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific economies and the advent of regional economic blocs (such as the European Union and the North American Free Trade Area) , 2002), MSMEs have assumed a leading role in economic development of many countries (Benney, 2000; Lee and Peterson, 2000; OECD OECD: see Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. , 2005). For instance, in the Philippines, 99.6 per cent of the total 810,362 business establishments as of 2003 are micro (91.75 per cent), small (7.5 per cent), and medium (0.35 per cent) firms generating 67.9 per cent of the country's total employment (DTI Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)
A refinement of magnetic resonance imaging that allows the doctor to measure the flow of water and track the pathways of white matter in the brain. , 2005).
However, the liability of smallness that is inherent amongst these MSMEs explains that despite their potential to contribute to economic growth, they are unable to compete well due to exogenous and endogenous constraints (Lall, 2000; Kirby and Watson, 2003). Previous studies have shown that the institutional (that is, political, social and economic) framework significantly affects the chances of success of MSMEs (Amin and Thrift, 1995; Nkya, 2003; Aidis, 2005).
Strategic Choice of MSMEs
No business organisation would survive in the long run in the absence of a strategy (Thomson, 2001). Hence, the exercise of strategic choice is a fundamental managerial and organisational function in every MSME. Strategic choice refers to the determination of courses of strategic action an organisation should take (Child, 1997). Strategic choice, in this context is considered as an organisational variable although it is normally exercised by the top management of organisations. The choice is strategic as it involves matters of critical importance to an organisation as a whole. Child (1997) argues that strategic choice enables an organisation to relate to its external environment, set standards of operating performance, and determine the design of the organisation. In this context, environmental conditions shape the strategic choice (such as situational analysis and choice of goals and strategy) of organisations. Strategic choices consequently influence the organisation's scale of operation, technology, structure, human resources The fancy word for "people." The human resources department within an organization, years ago known as the "personnel department," manages the administrative aspects of the employees. , and ultimately the organisation's operating effectiveness.
Conceptual Framework Development
The foregoing discussion on the theoretical domains of institutional theory, MSME sector development, and strategic choice serves as a mental map guiding the development of the framework linking institutions and strategic choice of MSMEs. Figure 1 presents the conceptual framework. The formal and informal institutions constitute the institutional matrix (North, 1990) which shapes MSMEs' strategic choice that is operationalised as strategic posture or the top management's risk taking behaviour with regard to investment decisions and strategic actions in the face of uncertainty, the extensiveness and frequency of product innovations and the related tendency toward technological leadership, and the pioneering nature of the firm as evident in the firm's propensity to compete with industry rivals aggressively and proactively (Covin COVIN, fraud. A secret contrivance between two or more persons to defraud and prejudice another of his rights. Co. Litt 357, b; Com. Dig. Covin, A; 1 Vin. Abr. 473. Vide Collusion; Fraud. and Slevin, 1990; Covin, Slevin and Schultz, 1994; Gibbons Famous people named Gibbons include:
Formal institutions constitute the "concrete" (Boland, 1992) or "hard" institutional environment of the firm (Hodgson, 1993) while the informal institutions constitute the "consensus" or "soft" institutional environment. Together, they determine the level of institutional thickness which shape the productive and strategic directions of MSMEs (Amin and Thrift, 1995; Raco, 1999).
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
Link between Institutions and Strategic Posture
The relationships between institutions and strategic choice as manifested by strategic posture, remains a point which needs further clarification (Pfeffer and Salancik, 1978; Clark, Varadarajan and Pride, 1994; Child, 1997; Beckert, 1999). The strategic choice perspective of the growth of the firm builds on the assumption that the firm operates in a market economy in which it is relatively free to pursue its own strategic choices (Peng and Heath, 1996).
The work of Oliver (1991) provides the argument that firms are not passive entities floating in an ocean of institutions. Institutional theory can accommodate interest-seeking, active organisational behaviour when organisations' responses to institutional pressures and expectations are not assumed to be invariably in·var·i·a·ble
Not changing or subject to change; constant.
in·vari·a·bil passive and conforming across all institutional conditions (Oliver, 1991). By combining institutional and resource dependency theories Dependency theory is a body of social science theories, both from developed and developing nations, that are predicated on the notion that there is a center of wealthy states and a periphery of poor, underdeveloped states. , Oliver (1991) was able to identify a typology typology /ty·pol·o·gy/ (ti-pol´ah-je) the study of types; the science of classifying, as bacteria according to type.
the study of types; the science of classifying, as bacteria according to type. of strategic responses to deal with institutional pressures under the convergent assumptions that: (a) organisational choice is constrained con·strain
tr.v. con·strained, con·strain·ing, con·strains
1. To compel by physical, moral, or circumstantial force; oblige: felt constrained to object. See Synonyms at force.
2. by external pressures coming from a collective and interconnected environment; (b) organisations seek legitimacy, stability and predictability to survive; and (c) organisations are able to protect their interests through responsiveness to external demands and expectations. The ability of an organisation to adapt to changing environmental circumstances is the key to organisational survival and the effectiveness of the adaptive response The adaptive response is a form of direct DNA repair in E. coli that is initiated against alkylation, particularly methylation, of guanine or thymine nucleotides or phosphate groups on the sugar-phosphate backbone of DNA. is dependent on aligning the response to the environmental circumstances faced by the organisation (Strandholm, Kumar and Subramanian, 2004).
Likewise, the theory of opportunity exploitation (Shane, 2003), theory of organisational adaptation (Hrebiniak and Joyce, 1985), and the concept of environmental management (Zeithaml and Zeithaml, 1984) all point to the same argument that environmental structures (that is, institutions) are not necessarily antagonistic antagonistic adjective Referring to any combination of 2 or more drugs, which results in a therapeutic effect that is less than the sum of each drug's effect. Cf Additive, Synergism. to strategic choice, rather they both form its precondition pre·con·di·tion
A condition that must exist or be established before something can occur or be considered; a prerequisite.
tr.v. and inform its content (Whittington, 1988). Moreover, the subjective perceptions (mental models) of organisational key players about their external environment--correct or incorrect--determine the choices they make which are the ultimate sources of action (North, 2005).
Formal institutions refer to the legal and political factors manifested by the rule of law, regulations, government policies and assistance programs designed to support the business activities of MSMEs (Busenitz et al, 2000). These formal institutions are articulated in written forms, administered by a central authority, and violations of these "rules" entail legal sanctions (Redmond, 2005). Identification of these formal institutions is mainly based on the seminal work of Kaufmann et al (1999) on governance and institutional quality which inspired more studies on the role of formal institutions in economic development (Fogel et al, 2006).
Rule of Law
Rule of law refers to the supremacy of law whereby decisions are made by the application of known principles or laws without the intervention of discretion in their application (Kahn, 2006). A society with a strong rule of law is defined as one having sound political institutions, a strong court system, and provisions for orderly succession of power as well as citizens who are willing to accept the established institutions and to make and implement laws and adjudicates disputes (Oxley and Yeung, 2001). Rule of law enhances transactional trust among contracting parties knowing that their rights and interests are well protected by law supported by an efficient legal and judicial system (Vandenberg, 1999; Fogel et al, 2006). It promotes transparency and stability regarding boundaries of acceptable behaviour (Scully, 1988; Oxley and Yeung, 2001). Increased transactional trust therefore allows MSMEs to be more aggressive in seeking for opportunities, building alliances, bearing risks, raising capital and entering markets (Fogel et al, 2006). Hence, proposition number one states that rule of law is positively associated with entrepreneurial strategic posture.
Property Rights Protection
Possession of significant assets cannot be efficiently used to increase output and promote economic growth if such assets lack the legal status of property. Protection of property rights include the protection and enforcement of right to use, exclude others from using, modify, obtain income from, and sell assets (Reed, 2001; Landau lan·dau
1. A four-wheeled carriage with front and back passenger seats that face each other and a roof in two sections that can be lowered or detached.
2. A style of automobile with a similar roof. , 2003). Property rights identify and protect the set of tangible and intangible resources that can be transferred in the market place and provides necessary incentives to owners to risk improvement to resources by ensuring that they will benefit from the improvement and that others will not deprive de·prive
1. To take something from someone or something.
2. To keep from possessing or enjoying something. them of the benefit (Reed, 2001).
Consequently, protection of property rights allows the creation of security for capital borrowing and investment as well as provides incentives to put private property into productive use (Reed, 2001; Heitger, 2004; Rodrik, Subramanian and Trebbi, 2004). These incentives increase the confidence of MSMEs to innovate and become economically active without the fear of being cheated out of the fruits of their efforts (Heitger, 2004). Other advantages include the promotion of investment in knowledge creation and business innovation by establishing exclusive rights to use and sell newly developed technologies, goods and services In economics, economic output is divided into physical goods and intangible services. Consumption of goods and services is assumed to produce utility (unless the "good" is a "bad"). It is often used when referring to a Goods and Services Tax. (Maskus, 2000). Consequently it promotes widespread dissemination dissemination Medtalk The spread of a pernicious process–eg, CA, acute infection Oncology Metastasis, see there of new knowledge by encouraging rights holders to put their inventions and ideas in the market (Maskus, 2000). As information is viewed as a resource, it will open up opportunities for further research and development by the rights holder and other firms. Based on the foregoing arguments, proposition number two states that protection of property rights is positively associated with entrepreneurial strategic posture.
The development and maintenance of a policy framework conducive for private enterprise in general and for MSME development in particular cannot be over emphasised. In this context, government policies refer to the enacted and implemented laws, ordinances, regulations any other forms of legislations and/or government decisions especially those that affect the business sector (Fogel, 2001). The relevance of government policies is well supported by the argument of Rodrik (2006) that strategic government intervention may often be required to get out of the low-level traps and elicit private investment brought about by coordination failures Coordination failure is the electoral problem resulting from competition between two or more candidates or political parties from the same or approximate location in the political ideological spectrum or space against an opposing candidate or political party from the other side of and capital market imperfections. Government policies may be viewed as conduits through which MSMES can engage in business activities consistent with external rules and regulations, hence, reducing the level of uncertainty (for example, fear from government intervention).
Likewise, government policies open up opportunities for MSMES such as resource acquisition, mobilisation, alliance/network formation (for example, subcontracting), establishment of industry clusters, and market development or expansion (for example, export) (Lester, 1992; Skuras, Dimara and Vakrou, 2000; Jackson, 2002; Audretsch, 2004; Tan, 2004; Tambunan, 2005). Therefore, proposition number three states that government policies perceived as conducive for MSME are positively associated with entrepreneurial strategic posture.
Regulatory quality refers to the degree to which compliance of the existing laws, rules, and other government regulatory procedures does not impose unreasonable burden on MSMEs (Gnyawali and Fogel, 1994; Geiger and Hoffman, 1998; Fogel and Zapalska, 2001). Burdensome government regulations may affect SMEs through: the increased prices to absorb the cost of regulatory compliance; pressure of cost inequities as small companies feel the brunt brunt
1. The main impact or force, as of an attack.
2. The main burden: bore the brunt of the household chores. of regulatory burdens more than large firms; competitive restrictions that may significantly discourage small firms; managerial restrictions resulting from SMEs sacrificing managerial time to comply with government regulations; and mental burden arising from postponed projects, wasted time, managerial failure due to lack of time and energy (Gnyawali and Fogel, 1994; Kuratko, Hornsby and Naffziger, 1999; Hellman, Jones, Kaufmann and Schankerman, 2000; Kuratko and Hodgetts, 2004). Therefore, proposition number four states that better regulatory quality is positively associated with entrepreneurial strategic posture.
Government assistance has been noted as a key component in small business or MSME development (Hill, 1995; Jackson, 1999; Helmsing, 2000; Henriquez, Verheul, van der Knaap and Bischoff, 2001). In this study, government assistance is expressed as the extent to which the government extends various forms of assistance or incentives supportive of the MSME sector (Busenitz et al, 2000). Jackson (1999) argues that governments have a significant role to play in nurturing the small business sector by being involved in the provision of non-traditional functions such as coordinating and monitoring economic agents, market development, financing, supporting producers, enabling community self-provision, supporting customers through provision of information, and direct provision of services not undertaken by the market (Jackson, 1999). Skuras et al (2004) concluded that the range of business assistance programs significantly shape the tendency of SMEs to pursue either survival-oriented or more aggressive-type of strategies. Proposition number five states government assistance is positively associated with entrepreneurial strategic posture.
Informal institutions refer to the cultural factors shared by members of a society in a that serve as constraints and/or standards and the violation of which entails social rather than legal penalties (North, 1990; Olsson, 1999; Redmond, 2005). This operational definition stems from the characterisation of informal institutions by North (1990) as codes of conduct, norms of behaviour, unwritten rules, conventions, and generally accepted way of thinking that come from socially transmitted information and are part of the heritage that we call culture (North, 1990; 1991; 2005). These norms, ethics, customs, taboos, and ideologies form the unofficial rules of a society, learned through socialisation and are largely the inherited inherited
received by inheritance.
inherited achondroplastic dwarfism
see achondroplastic dwarfism.
inherited combined immunodeficiency
see combined immune deficiency syndrome (disease). view of the world from older generations (Olsson, 1999; Redmond, 2005).
Whilst there are a number of studies discussing the theoretical and conceptual bases of informal institutions (Pejovich, 1999; Aidis, 2005; Davis, 2006), only a handful of empirical studies attempted to measure specific constructs categorically classified as informal institutions (Peng and Heath, 1996; Nkya, 2003; Peng, 2004; Robson, 2004; Tabellini, 2005). The very scarce empirical studies on informal institutions look at sociocultural so·ci·o·cul·tur·al
Of or involving both social and cultural factors.
soci·o·cul factors such as kinship, community networks, religion, norms, and values and their varying degrees of influence on human or organisational behaviour (Hill, 1995; Pejovich, 1999; Nkya, 2003; Tabellini, 2005). Obviously, there is a plethora of studies examining culture using the popular framework of Hofstede (1980) whereby cultural dimensions Cultural dimensions are the mostly psychological dimensions, or value constructs, which can be used to describe a specific culture. These are often used in Intercultural communication-/Cross-cultural communication-based research.
See also: Edward T. such as collectivism collectivism
Any of several types of social organization that ascribe central importance to the groups to which individuals belong (e.g., state, nation, ethnic group, or social class). It may be contrasted with individualism. and uncertainty avoidance were shown to be related to entrepreneurship in various respects (Robson, 2004). Even so, informal institutions are oftentimes of·ten·times also oft·times
Adv. 1. oftentimes - many times at short intervals; "we often met over a cup of coffee"
frequently, oft, often, ofttimes treated ex post facto ex post facto adj. Latin for "after the fact," which refers to laws adopted after an act is committed making it illegal although it was legal when done, or increases the penalty for a crime after it is committed. Such laws are specifically prohibited by the U. S. or as residuals after exhaustively discussing formal institutional mechanisms. This is anathema anathema (ənă`thĭmə) [Gr.,=something set up; dedicated to a divinity as a votive offering], term that came to denote something devoted to a divinity for destruction. In the Bible, the term is herem. to North's (1990) original concept of informal institutions for which he argues that informal constraints should not be treated as mere appendages of formal rules.
This study adopts the Global Leadership and Organisational Behaviour Effectiveness (GLOBE) cultural framework developed by House et al (2004) for a number of reasons. The study of Parboteeah et al (2005) claims that the GLOBE cultural study is the most up-to-date national culture study providing helpful updates to the cultural dimensions identified by Hofstede (1980) whose work has been criticised for many of its conceptual and methodological issues. As such, using the GLOBE framework tends to avoid Hofstede's problematic issues and incorporates other cultural dimensions not included in Hofstede's work and that of other cultural schemes (Parboteeah, Bronson and Cullen, 2005).
The GLOBE cultural framework measures culture using the Direct Values Inference method whereby cultural characteristics are inferred from the aggregated values of respondents in a survey (Lenartowicz and Roth, 1999). One of the strengths of the framework is its predictive validity In psychometrics, predictive validity is the extent to which a scale predicts scores on some criterion measure.
For example, the validity of a cognitive test for job performance is the correlation between test scores and, for example, supervisor performance ratings. whereby cultural dimensions are studied not just in the context of the general society but also in the context of leadership and organisational behaviour (House et al, 2004). The following are the major components of the GLOBE cultural framework which are considered in this study as manifestation of a society's informal institutions.
Performance orientation reflects the extent to which a community values results, assertiveness assertiveness /as·ser·tive·ness/ (ah-ser´tiv-nes) the quality or state of bold or confident self-expression, neither aggressive nor submissive. , competition, and materialism materialism, in philosophy, a widely held system of thought that explains the nature of the world as entirely dependent on matter, the fundamental and final reality beyond which nothing need be sought. , and encourages and rewards innovation, high standards, and performance improvement (Javidan, 2004). Performance orientation shows strong resemblance to McClelland's Need for Achievement as well as the Protestant ethics Protestant ethic
Value attached to hard work, thrift, and self-discipline under certain Protestant doctrines, particularly those of Calvinism. Max Weber, in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904–05), held that the Protestant ethic was an important of individual responsibility, hard work, knowledge and challenge (Javidan, 2004). It is considered as an important dimension of a community's culture as the underlying practices and values have an impact on the way the community defines success in adaptation to external challenges (Javidan, 2004). It promotes the values of seeking betterment bet·ter·ment
1. An improvement over what has been the case: financial betterment.
2. Law An improvement beyond normal upkeep and repair that adds to the value of real property. , setting high standards of performance, ambitious expectations and a thirst thirst, sensation indicating the body's need for water. Dry or salty food and dry, dusty air may induce such a sensation by depleting moisture in the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat. for learning (Javidan, 2004).
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Javidan (2004), societies with high level of performance orientation tend to display strong level of competitiveness, self-confidence, and ambition. Likewise, he further argues that in these societies, time is considered non-renewable and subject to high depletion thereby promoting a strong sense of urgency in meeting challenges and making decisions. Hence, proposition number six explains that higher level of performance orientation is positively associated with entrepreneurial strategic posture.
Future orientation is used in this study to mean the tendency to conscientiously think and plan for the future and consider the long-term consequences of one's actions in the present (Ashkanasy et al, 2004; Corral-Verdugo and Pinheiro, 2006). Cultures with high future orientation display strong capability and willingness to imagine future contingencies, formulate future goals states, and seek to achieve goals and develop strategies for meeting their future aspirations aspirations npl → aspiraciones fpl (= ambition); ambición f
aspirations npl (= hopes, ambition) → aspirations fpl (Ashkanasy et al, 2004). People in a future oriented culture are likely to be good in establishing and achieving goals and in planning strategies for meeting long-term obligations (Corral-Verdugo and Pinheiro, 2006). Proposition number seven is expressed as higher levels of future orientation are positively associated with entrepreneurial strategic posture.
Assertiveness reflects the beliefs as to whether people are encouraged to be assertive as·ser·tive
Inclined to bold or confident assertion; aggressively self-assured.
as·sertive·ly adv. , aggressive, and tough or non-assertive, non-aggressive, and tender in social relationships (Den Hartog, 2004; Parboteeah et al, 2005). Assertiveness behaviour includes making it clear to others what one wants, refusing what one doesn't want and generally expressing one's intentions in clear and unambiguous terms (Parboteeah et al, 2005). Assertiveness also entails willingness to confront opposing views and to express one's ideas and feelings in social encounters (Niikura, 1999). It is reported that assertive societies tend to be competitive, value success and to think of others as necessarily opportunistic opportunistic /op·por·tu·nis·tic/ (op?er-tldbomacn-is´tik)
1. denoting a microorganism which does not ordinarily cause disease but becomes pathogenic under certain circumstances.
2. (Den Hartog, 2004). Assertive societies tend to look at nature as something to be controlled and manipulated, take a pragmatic stance towards reality, and have a belief in human perfectibility (Den Hartog, 2004).
A highly aggressive culture places high value on achievement, independence, heroism Heroism
See also Bravery.
Greek hero without whom Troy could not have been taken. [Gk. Lit.: Iliad]
Trojan hero; legendary founder of Roman race. [Rom. Lit. , monetary rewards, and decisiveness (McGrath et al, 1992; Gleason et al, 2000; Su, 2006). The relationship between assertiveness and MSME strategic posture may be explained in terms of the dimensions of strategy-making. It is argued that assertiveness is an inherent dimension of strategy-making which concerns the levels of risk-taking and reactiveness or proactiveness of decisions (Miller, 1987; Koberg et al, 1993). Since entrepreneurial firms are viewed as risk-takers and act on rather than react to their environment, then an assertive culture is likely to support entrepreneurial strategic posture as strategy-making and implementation are considered as an exercise of assertiveness (Miller, 1987; Koberg et al, 1993). Hence, proposition number eight states that high level of assertiveness is positively associated with entrepreneurial strategic posture.
Collectivism involves the subordination of personal interests to the goals of the larger work, an emphasis on sharing, cooperation, interpersonal connectedness, group harmony and solidarity, and joint responsibility, concern for group welfare, and hostility toward out-group members (Hosfstede, 1980; 1983; Morris et al, 1993; Gelfand et al, 2004; Parboteeah et al, 2005; Yilmaz et al, 2005; Su, 2006). The opposite construct is individualism which refers to self-orientation, an emphasis on self-sufficiency and control, the pursuit of individual goals that may or may not be consistent with in-group goals, a willingness to confront members of the in-group to which they belong, and a culture where people derive pride from their own accomplishments (Morris et al, 1993; Yan and Hunt, 2005). Personal freedom is valued and individual decision-making is encouraged in societies with high individualism culture (Gong, Li and Stump stump (stump) the distal end of a limb left after amputation.
1. The extremity of a limb left after amputation.
2. , 2007).
Studies have shown that cultures that are low in collectivism (that is, high in individualism) tend to support entrepreneurial strategic posture. McGrath et al (1992) argue that entrepreneurs must have high individualism score since under individualist in·di·vid·u·al·ist
1. One that asserts individuality by independence of thought and action.
2. An advocate of individualism.
in culture, individual initiative, achievement, right to privacy as well as formation of one's own opinion are highly valued. This is consistent with the findings of Parboteeah et al (2005) and Yan and Hunt (2005). Therefore, proposition number nine states that high level of collectivism is negatively associated with entrepreneurial strategic posture.
Power distance reflects the extent to which a community accepts and endorses authority, power differences, and status privileges (Carl et al, 2004). High degree of power distance leads to a less participative stance in decision-making, greater reliance on rules and procedures, and higher levels of subordinate submissiveness sub·mis·sive
Inclined or willing to submit.
sub·mis (Yilmaz et al, 2005). Likewise, preservation of current status tend to be highly noticeable in societies with high power distance (Hosfstede, 1980).
Shane (1992) explains that high power distance is anathema to innovation because it promotes hierarchical social structure and inequality, inhibits informal communication between people in different hierarchical levels, encourages centralisation n. 1. same as centralization.
Noun 1. centralisation - the act of consolidating power under a central control
consolidation, integration - the act of combining into an integral whole; "a consolidation of two corporations"; of power, endorses elaborate control systems especially in organisations, and upholds unwillingness to accept change in the distribution of power. All these, according to Shane (1992), inhibit innovation such that: dispersed power structures create coalitions that support innovation; frequent informal communication as well as decentralisation permit free flowing of ideas which facilitates knowledge acquisition and diffusion; control systems based on trust rather than rigid rules and procedures encourage active participation and creative thinking amongst employees; and social mobility increases occupational mobility, technical change and innovation.
Innovation tend to be significantly lower in countries with high power distance (Yaveroglu and Donthu, 2002). Cultures that exhibit large power distance will be less innovative because people in such cultures are encouraged to respect authority, follow directions and avoid standing out through original thinking (Gong et al, 2007). People may take less initiative to consider and discuss the introduction of new products and technologies and will generally wait for signals from authority figures or opinion leaders (Gong et al, 2007). Therefore, proposition number 10 advances that high level of power distance is negatively associated with entrepreneurial strategic posture.
Humane orientation characterises those societies where people's behaviours are guided by values of altruism altruism (ăl`trĭz`əm), concept in philosophy and psychology that holds that the interests of others, rather than of the self, can motivate an individual. , benevolence BENEVOLENCE, duty. The doing a kind action to another, from mere good will, without any legal obligation. It is a moral duty only, and it cannot be enforced by law. A good wan is benevolent to the poor, but no law can compel him to be so.
BENEVOLENCE, English law. , kindness, love, and generosity (Kabasakal and Bodur, 2004). The need for belongingness and affiliation rather than self-fulfilment, pleasure, material possession and power are likely to be the dominant bases (Kabasakal and Bodur, 2004). Societies that have high humane orientation tend to place greater importance of others (that is, family, friends, or community), have high need for belonging and affiliation, values obedience and promotes close monitoring of children by children rather than promoting independence (Kabasakal and Bodur, 2004).
The GLOBE study reveals that a humane oriented culture tends to contradict con·tra·dict
v. con·tra·dict·ed, con·tra·dict·ing, con·tra·dicts
1. To assert or express the opposite of (a statement).
2. To deny the statement of. See Synonyms at deny. the elements of an entrepreneurial strategic posture: risk-taking, proactiveness, and innovation. Greater emphasis on affiliation rather than achievement, less emphasis on self-fulfilment, material possession and power, less emphasis on independence, strong tendency towards collectivism, and lesser value placed on assertiveness: all these do not fit nor support the conceptual scope of entrepreneurial strategic posture. To achieve something is an underlying purpose of entrepreneurial risk-taking. Likewise, independence is an essential element of innovation and proactiveness based on the assumption that one can only be innovative and proactive if they are willing to take a firm stand on what they think and feel (independent) and pursue ideas contrary to popular beliefs. Hence proposition number 11 states that high level of humane orientation is negatively associated with entrepreneurial strategic posture.
Uncertainty avoidance refers to the extent to which ambiguous situations are threatening to individuals, to which rules and order are preferred and to which uncertainty is tolerated in society (Gleason et al, 2000; De Luque and Javidan, 2004). In short, uncertainty avoidance reflects the level of tolerance for ambiguity within a given culture (Parboteeah et al, 2005).
Low uncertainty avoidance implies greater willingness to take risks (Hosfstede, 1980). Likewise low uncertainty avoidance comes with it values for risk-taking, strong motivations for individual achievement and more optimism--a very good climate for entrepreneurs to thrive (McGrath et al, 1992; Gong et al, 2007).
The intention to become an entrepreneur and start up a business is characterised as a risky behaviour compared to establishing an employment career with predictable and steady flow of income.
The fear of failure (usually operationalised by one's risk aversion risk aversion
The tendency of investors to avoid risky investments. Thus, if two investments offer the same expected yield but have different risk characteristics, investors will choose the one with the lowest variability in returns. ) is a critical issue for entrepreneurs due to the little separation between business and personal risk in an entrepreneurial venture (Watson and Robinson, 2003). In this case, entrepreneurship can be characterised as requiring fair tolerance of ambiguity, locus of control locus of control
A theoretical construct designed to assess a person's perceived control over his or her own behavior. The classification internal locus indicates that the person feels in control of events; external locus that is more internal than external as well as willingness to take risks that are relatively well calculated (Pitt and Kannemeyer, 2000). Uncertainty avoidance turns out to be anathema to innovation as the latter tends to introduce unanticipated changes and cause uncertainty which in turn leads to resistance to innovation (De Luque and Javidan, 2004; Erumban and de Jong De Jong is the most common Dutch surname. Many people bear this name, including many important historical figures. Some of these people are mentioned below.
De Jong may mean:
Hofstede (1980) noted that in hi uncertainty avoidance societies, there is greater fear of failure, lower willingness to take risks, lower levels of ambition, and lower tolerance for ambiguity. These values tend to contradict the entrepreneurial values of proactiveness, innovation, and risk-taking. Hence proposition number 12 states that high level of uncertainty avoidance is negatively associated with entrepreneurial strategic posture.
As previously discussed, the exercise of strategic choice by MSMEs is operationalised by the concept called strategic posture. Strategic posture implies that a firm can be categorised Adj. 1. categorised - arranged into categories
classified - arranged into classes along a continuum ranging from less entrepreneurial to more entrepreneurial (Covin, 1991). Strategic posture, whilst exercised by the owner of an MSME, or top management of a firm, is considered an organisational variable as organisations are reflections of the values and cognitive bases of powerful actors (Carpenter and Fredrickson, 2001).
Strategic posture, hinges Hinges may refer to:
Covin et al (1994) argue that firms with conservative or less entrepreneurial strategic posture are risk averse Risk Averse
Describes an investor who, when faced with two investments with a similar expected return (but different risks), will prefer the one with the lower risk.
A risk averse person dislikes risk. , non-innovative and reactive firms whilst those with more entrepreneurial strategic posture are risk taking, innovative, and proactive. These three components comprise a basic, uni-dimensional strategic orientation (Covin et al, 1994; Gibbons and O'Connor, 2005; Naldi et al, 2007). Essentially, strategic posture reflects the firm's strategic orientation, that is, the firm's overall competitive orientation (Covin and Slevin, 1989).
The importance of studying strategic posture rests on previous research that generated the following results among others: (a) strategic posture is the organisation's response or adaptation to the vagaries of the external environment (that is, hostility, turbulence, complexity, etc) (Lukas 1999; Strandholm et al, 2004); (b) strategic posture is the exploitation of the firms' resources to generate competitive advantage (Ordaz et al, 2003); (c) strategic posture shapes the level of innovation within the firm (Salavou et al, 2004; O'Regan and Ghobadian, 2005); and (d) strategic posture shapes the performance outcome of firms (Ramaswamy et al, 1994; Rajagopalan, 1996; Pelham Noun 1. Pelham - a bit with a bar mouthpiece that is designed to combine a curb and snaffle
bit - piece of metal held in horse's mouth by reins and used to control the horse while riding; "the horse was not accustomed to a bit" , 1999; Durand and Coeurderoy, 2001; Noble et al, 2002; Morgan and Strong, 2003; Aragon-Sanchez et al, 2005).
Conclusion and Implications for Further Research
Institutions matter to MSMEs because they provide the structure, set constraints and offer incentives that could support or inhibit the proactive, risk-taking and innovative activities of these firms. The minimisation of transaction costs as well as level of uncertainty through formal institutions play a major role in supporting the entrepreneurial growth of MSMEs. The socio-cultural support provided by the equally important informal institutions complete the institutional landscape through which productive entrepreneurial activities could take place. The conceptual framework developed in this study offers a new way of looking at the relationship between the institutional environment and the strategic choices of MSMEs. However, this study offers numerous questions and issues worth pursuing in future studies.
Of major concern is the measurement of formal and informal institutions. It must be noted that there are many ways to measure a firm's external environment (Lenz and Engledow, 1986). If informal institutions are intangible, will the cognitive model The term cognitive model can have basically two meanings. In cognitive psychology, a model is a simplified representation of reality. The essential quality of such a model is to help deciding the appropriate actions, i.e. of environment (Weick, 1988) provide an adequate framework for measurement? Should objective measures be used to determine the quality of formal institutions? Furthermore, many developing countries are undergoing deregulation and decentralisation of governance systems making sub-national (for example, regional or city) governments politically and economically more responsible and accountable. It would be interesting to know how the propositions would work in such institutionally-heterogeneous localities.
Finally, the ultimate objective of business operation is to realise a pre-determined goal or set of goals which may range from intrinsic to financial values. The challenge therefore is to establish if an institutional environment conducive for entrepreneurial strategic posture would result to better and sustainable MSME performance.
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School of Government
Victoria University of Wellington