Printer Friendly

The competitiveness of SMEs in the EU member states. Challenges and lessons ahead for Romania.

1. Introduction

The term competitiveness is analysed with reference to firms, industrial sectors, regions, nations and supranational entities (1). In fact, the two main reference levels of competitiveness are the firm and the nation, both with different objectives: "while for a nation the aim is to maintain and improve its citizens' living standards, for a firm the object is to deal successfully with international competition by making profits and increasing its market shares". (2) Nevertheless, the World Competitive Yearbook released by the prestigious Swiss business school The Institute of Management Development (IMD), is based on the assumption that wealth creation takes place primarily at enterprise level (whether private or state owned) and on the idea that enterprises operate in a national environment which enhances or hinders their ability to compete domestically or internationally. (3) Hence, we remark the interdependence relation between competitiveness of enterprises and competitiveness of economies.

Our main interest is the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector, because of its importance in the EU economy. Throughout the challenging economic conditions of the past five years, "SMEs have retained their position as the backbone of the European economy, with some 20.7 million firms accounting for more than 98 per cent of all enterprises, of which the lion's share (92.2 per cent) are firms with fewer than ten employees. For 2012 it is estimated that SMEs accounted for 67 per cent of total employment and 58 per cent of gross value added (GVA)". (4) Moreover, the SMEs are important to national economies, they are "the ones on which one country can rely, also in bad times, because they will not move to another country when the state advantages are over, when the salaries increase, when the demand decreases or for other reasons". (5)

Within this framework, the primary aim of our research is to analyse the strengths of the SMEs in EU member states from the perspective of their competitiveness and to formulate some practices and strategies to be applied by Romanian SMEs to reach an improved level of competitiveness.

The structure of this paper is as follows. In Section 2, we present a theoretical perspective of competitiveness of SMEs, a special attention being given to the impact of specific characteristics of SMEs well-known approaches "competitiveness as a driver" and "competitiveness as an outcome". In Section 3, we propose an overview of the SMEs sector in Romania, the data referring to the Romanian entrepreneurs' profile, employment, sectors of activity, productivity, contribution to gross value added and so on. In Section 4, we propose a set of three directions for gaining and enhancing SMEs competitiveness: the adoption of e-business, the internationalisation process and the adoption of innovation. We bring proofs that once adopted, these directions help the SMEs to reach an improved level of competitiveness. These three directions are illustrated with data for the EU SMEs, a special attention being paid to the Romanian SMEs. In the final part of Section 4, we made some remarks related to the competitiveness of the Romanian SMEs. In the final part of this paper, we draw some conclusions and propose some practices and strategies to be applied by Romanian SMEs to reach an improved level of competitiveness.

2. The competitiveness of SMEs--a theoretical perspective

In a classic approach, the competitiveness of firms is defined as the capacity to achieve a greater than average improvement in the quality of goods and services and/or a reduction in their relative costs that enable them to increase their profits (revenues-costs) and/or market share (6). Measures of competitiveness of firms include financial or market-based indicators as well as other variables such as innovativeness, quality, ethical standing, social responsibility, working conditions of employees and so on. (7)

The competitiveness of the SMEs has gained a specific interest because of the following two main reasons: the specific characteristics of the SMEs compared with larger firms and the importance of this sector in the economy. We consider that the specific characteristics of SMEs heavily influence both in a positive and negative manner the competitiveness of this type of enterprises. Thereby, the flexibility of SMEs, their openness to change, quick reaction to the market changes and a fast decision-making process are seen as having an important role in enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs. (8) Moreover, we consider cannot be ignored those specific characteristics of SMEs that make it more difficult for them to be competitive; characteristics such as limited human and capital resources, reactive approach, misconception of performance measurement and informal strategies.

An adaptation of the approach of Depperu and Cerrato (9) to the topic of competitiveness of SMEs reveals the following:

A) The view of "competitiveness as a driver" might be adopted taking into account the specific characteristics of SMEs. This view points out the sources of a firm's competitive advantage, both internal (resources, capabilities and knowledge) and external (such current competition within the industry, bargaining power of suppliers, bargaining power of buyers, threat of new entrants, threat of substitute products or services (10)). In the case of internal sources of a firm's competitive advantage, there are two main approaches: the resource-based view and the competence-based view. (11)

From the perspective of resource-based view (with a static approach of the internal sources of competitive advantage) most of SMEs, especially micro and small enterprises might be characterised by a low competitive potential, due to some of their specific characteristics, such as: lack of human resource; managerial capacity; limited capital resources; reactive approach; tacit knowledge and little attention given to the formalisation of processes; misconception of performance measurement. (12)

From the perspective of competence-based view (that refers to management processes that transform the sources of a firm's competitive advantage to achieved performance), one weak point of SMEs might be the high dependence on one person (entrepreneur/manager of the business). The entrepreneur's demographic, psychological and behavioral characteristics as well as his or her managerial skills and technical know-how are seen as influential factors related to the performance of SMEs. (13)

We consider that in the case of external sources of a firm's competitive advantage, SMEs might rely more on to network resources (that involve the relationship with partners, suppliers, distributors, customers and so on) than to other sources, such as: favorable market structure, access to financial capital, brand recognition, and so on.

B) The view of "competitiveness as an outcome" (that assumes a wide range of performance indicators) might be adapted to the SMEs, due to their specific characteristics, such as: tacit knowledge and little attention given to the formalisation of processes and misconception of performance measurement. (14)

We believe that a static analysis of SMEs profitability take precedence over the dynamic approach because of their main financing constraints related to: limited capital resources (15) and difficult access to finance.

3. The development of the SMEs sector in Romania

Taking into account the fact that currently the SME sector contributes with 65% of Romania's GDP, (16) we can consider the analysis of the current development of this type of enterprises and the future prospects of this segment as an essential element for generating a correct and coherent assessment of the long-term evolution trends in our country.

After a short overview of the statistical data concerning the evolution of the Romanian SMEs we can summarise by presenting the following facts:

--Entrepreneurs' profile -using the data provided by the Amway European Entrepreneurship report 2012. The unleashed potential of entrepreneurship in times of Crisis a GFK research, we can state that 66% of the Romanians have positive attitude about self--employment. (17) In Romania, the vast majority of entrepreneurs are men, under 40 years old, high school and university graduates. (18) Between 2007 and 2010 the number of the Romanian young entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 24 has increased five times (reaching 29%), but the dominant age was still between 25-34 (31.2%) and the broad majority 49.3% were high school graduates (university graduates--27.5% as in comparison with the 2007 figures--52.1%). (19)

Employment--the level of employment for the local Romanian SMEs (estimates for 2011) is close to the European average share of about two-thirds of the total (67,2% RO; 67,4% EU-27) (20). We can also mention an important fact reflecting the average labor productivity for the Romanian SMEs, which represents 72% of large companies' labor productivity. (21)

Sectors of activity--According to the statistical data provided by the National Institute of Statistics, in 2010 most of the Romanian SMEs were operating in the service sector--39.5%, followed by sectors like: trade--38.8%, industry--11.2% and construction--10 5%. (22)

--Productivity--low productivity and profitability of this sector for which the international trade data also shows that most local Romanian SMEs depend only on the domestic market. (23)

--Contribution to gross value added--the SMEs contribution to gross value added, which in Romania for the total of 529.015 SMEs enterprises (representing 99,7% of the total Romanian companies) is about 52,7%, while for the EU-27 countries is around 58,1% (estimates for 2011). (24)

Analysing the annual growth percentage of growth value added and employment of SMEs and share of High + Medium High Tech SMEs by Member State, (2011 estimates) we can see that in Romania's case we rank below the EU average percentage with only one exception--the percentage of growth of real value added of all SMEs (2.2--EU-27 and 2.6--Romania). Following the data presented by the same report, we can conclude by presenting the figures below: (25)

--Romania is found in the EU-27 average in terms of percentage of the High-tech companies (1124 enterprises representing 0.2%--of the total companies);

--Romania is also close but under the EU-27 average in terms of high + medium high tech, medium-low tech, Knowledge intensive services (KIS), Knowledge-intensive market services/KIMS, or High-tech knowledge intensive services/HKIS companies;

--Also we are classified above the European average in terms of low-tech companies (6.6%-34 924 enterprises, 5.1 EU-27 average), other knowledge intensive services enterprises and less knowledge-intensive services enterprises.

Trying to describe the evolution of the Romanian SMEs during the past 5 years, we can state the following facts: (26)

--partially as a result of the introduction of the OU Nr. 34/2009, in 2010, the number of companies that have closed their activity and have been removed from the Register of Trade data reached a historical number of 171.146 companies, an increase from the previous year by almost 400%;

--in 2011 there were 467833 Romanian SMEs companies, (27) in 2012 the number of new registrations followed a negative trend over the period 2011 with only 125.603 new entries;

--taking the same reference year, 2010, SMEs enterprises accounted in Romania for 61% of the total turnover of the non-financial sectors and 40% to the total turnover of the Romanian industry;

--as a relevant example, the SMEs in the services sector contributed with 19.3% of the total turnover, and the most important representatives were the information and communication enterprises that have had a positive evolution even in the economic crisis period, the share of turnover generated by those companies constantly increasing even during the 2008-2009 period.

The Small Business Act for Europe (SBA) reflects the Commission's political will to recognise the central role of SMEs in the EU economy and for the first time puts into place a comprehensive SME policy framework for the EU and its Member States." (28) The ten principles governing SBA (entrepreneurship, second chance, think small first, responsive administration, state aid and public procurement, access to finance, (29) single market, skills and innovation, (30) environment, internalisation (31)) (32) are analysed through the evaluation of a few indicators by trying to reveal how well the member states perform in the specified fields.

Romania registers a high score only for the first criteria--entrepreneurship but has very low estimations for all the other nine indicators. (33)

4. The Competitiveness of SMEs in the EU Member States--Challenges and Facts

In order to reveal the main challenges and facts regarding the competitiveness of SMEs in the EU member states and taking into consideration the above-mentioned approaches of competitiveness (see Section 3), we analyse three directions for gaining and enhancing competitiveness: the adoption of e-business, the internationalisation process and the adoption of innovation. We believe that all of these three directions are interconnected in the case of SMEs. Therefore, two of the main drivers of internationalisation of firms are e-business (34) and innovation. (35) The Internet is a tool for SMEs of all sizes that helps them to overcome some of the barriers to internationalisation. (36)

4.1. The adoption of e-business by SMEs

E-business implies "the conducting of business on the Internet, not only buying and selling, but also serving customers and collaborating with business partners". (37) The current economy, characterised by two interconnected events: the globalisation of markets, firms and activities, and the diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the Internet has conducted to this practice. (38) The main benefits of adopting ICTs by SMEs are: increased productivity in the production processes, increased efficiency of internal business operation and connection of SMEs to external contacts whether locally or globally, more easily and cheaply. (39) Moreover, primary business areas taking advantage of e-business include marketing/sales, financial services, procurement, customer service, and intermediaries. (40)

The adoption of the Internet by European SMEs is having a positive impact on the grow of companies; "European SMEs grow two-three times faster when they embrace the Internet". (41) Moreover, an increasing number of European SMEs are aiming to exploit the benefits of enterprise software and services. (42) This fact might be seen as a result of the European e-Business Support Network for SMEs (eBSN), an initiative of the European Commission to foster the adaptation and innovative use of ICTs by SMEs, established in 2003. (43) Within this initiative, six actions have been developed; each of these projects targeting e-business in different industries, such as textile, clothing and fashion industry, automotive industry and transport and logistics industry, the tourism industry, the agro-food supply-chain and construction sector. (44) Even if there is evidence that there is currently a good range of suitable ICT solutions available to SMEs there are significant challenges to SMEs that plan to introduce and use e-business, such as lack of time and skills for an informed decision-making on ICT strategies. (45)

The data generated on the Information Technology market show that at the EU level the first three countries that are leading this group are Germany, UK and France (representing 60% of the European figures). (46)

In the case of Romania, the level of adoption of ICTs by SMEs (at the level of 2011) is the following: (47) 77.09% of the SMEs have computers; the Internet is accessed in 73.22% of the SMEs; the email is used in 69.93% of the SMEs; 33.26% of the SMEs own a proper website; 5.69% of the SMEs use an Intranet system; 14.21% of the SMEs carry out online transactions; IT facilities do not exist in 14.16% of the SMEs. (48)

In Romania, in 2010 the share of SMEs that were purchasing online reached only 7% (EU-27 average 28%). If we continue this reasoning, we find that the figures showing the percentage of SMEs enterprises that were selling online are less favorable than the previous ones, in 2011 in this case; the data indicated only 4% of the companies (EU-27 average 13%). (49)

4.2. Internationalisation of SMEs

We consider internationalisation as "all activities that put SMEs into a meaningful business relationship with a foreign partner: exports, imports, foreign direct investment, international subcontracting and international technical cooperation". (50) In the context of economic environment heavily influenced by globalisation, internationalisation should be "fully integrated into the SME as a core part of the company's long term strategy". (51) The main drivers of SMEs internationalisation are exposure to internationalisation (either because the sector is particularly exposed or because of the personal and professional experience of the owner/manager) (52) and owner/manager's international orientation, globalisation of SMEs' industry, SMEs established international network and foreign market potential. (53)

From the 25% of the EU-27--SMEs companies that have export activities 50% succeed in going beyond the Internal Market (and here we must underline the fact that usually the size of the company influences the internationalisation process--large companies are more inclined to internationalise). If we try to make the same assessment for the importing enterprises, we see that only 29% of the EU-27 are engaged in import activities from which 50% import products from outside the Internal Market borders. (54) Moreover we can add the fact that 7% of the SMEs enterprises are involved in technical cooperation with foreign partners, 7% are subcontractors of a foreign company, the same percentage of enterprises are subcontractors of foreign partners and only 2% are active in FDI. Trade, communications, manufacturing, transport and research are the more internationalised sectors in the EU. (55)

In the case of Romania, we can mention the following facts: the share of the Romanian SMEs enterprises importing from outside the EU in 2009 was around 3% (as in comparison with the EU average of 5%). The share of SMEs companies exporting outside the EU registered only 1% (EU average 3%). For Romania in 2012 the cost required to import was 1500USD (EU average--1101 USD and the time needed to import was 13 days (EU average 11 days). For the exports, the figures indicated 1490 USD (EU average 1032) and 12 days (EU average 11 days). (56)

4.3. The adoption of innovation by SMEs

Innovation is "the renewal and enlargement of the range of products and services and the associated markets; the establishment of new methods of production, supply and distribution; the introduction of changes in management, work organisation, and the working conditions and skills of the workforce". (57) According to the same European Commission document quoted above, there are two broad senses of innovation: the innovation process (it relates to mechanisms for interaction within the firms as well as with networks that link the firm to its environment) and the result of the innovation (it is counted in new product, process or service). One of the main conditions of innovation is the existence of "a strong, shared culture which is clearly innovation-oriented". (58) In the case of SMEs, characteristics such as flexibility, their simple organisational structure, their low risk and receptivity are seen as innovation facilitators. (59)

In 2008 the share of the Romanian SMEs introducing product or process innovations reached 18% (EU average, 34%), the figures also indicated that SMEs introducing marketing or organisational innovations represented 26% (EU average 39%), also the SMEs innovating in-house represented 17% (EU average 30%). (60) The data provided by the same source also indicates that the share of innovative SMEs collaborating with others in 2008 was quite low, only 2% (EU average 11%). What really should worry us is the reduced percentage of SMEs participating in EU funded research (number per 100.000 SMEs) in 2011, 7 in Romania (EU average 23).

The EIS (European Scoreboard Indicators) 2008 includes innovation indicators and trend analyses for the EU-27 Member States. This data shows that on the first positions, above the EU average levels we find countries like: Denmark, Germany, Finland, Sweden, and the UK followed by Belgium, Ireland, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Austria. Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Portugal and Slovenia are the so called moderate innovators, positioned bellow the EU average and followed by the next country group: Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Romania and Slovakia which are the catching-up countries. (61)

We must underline the fact that 35.53% of the Romanian SMEs (62) do not perform any innovation activities. (63) The data provided by the same source also indicates that in the case of 64.47% Romanian SMEs, the innovation activities are linked to new products (32.01% of the analysed SMEs), new technologies (20.24%), new approaches to management and marketing (15.07%), information system (10.29%) and human resources (7.79%).

Overall, from the perspective of the above-mentioned directions of competitiveness of the SMEs in the EU member states, the Romanian SMEs do not perform very well, the presented data indicating values more under the level of European figures. Therefore, we consider that the SMEs in Romania ought to adopt or to improve these three directions in order to gain and/or enhance the competitiveness.

Romanian SMEs should increase their efforts to adopt e-business, the benefits being considerable on the long run. In this regard, the entrepreneur/ owner plays the vital role; his/her openness to and knowledge of information and communication technologies having a great influence on the decision to adopt e-business. The known internal constrains in the case of this type of firms, such as the lack of financial and managerial resources, are the main challenges in the process of the adoption of e-business. We consider that a prioritisation of the budget expenses, a special attention being paid to e-business adoptions and/or development, might be a strategic decision in the case of Romanian SMEs.

The process of internationalisation of the Romanian SMEs should be adopted or continued, as a core part of company's long-term strategy, even if the specific characteristics of this type of firms might be seen as the challenges for internationalisation process. From this regard, the Romanian SMEs managed by owners/managers with an international personal and professional experience might be highly competitive on international markets compared with an average SME. Furthermore, the Romanian SMEs should be aware of all form of internationalisation, such as technical cooperation with foreign partners, subcontracts of a foreign company or partner or even foreign direct investments.

The adoption of innovation by SMEs is a reality in the current economic and business environment. The Romanian SMEs should take immediate actions in order to adopt innovation, starting with the understanding of the large meaning of innovation. Those SMEs that have already adopted innovation activities should maintain this direction and take important steps toward the improvement of innovation activities (in terms of both innovation process and the result of innovation). Moreover, an innovation culture should be fostered at the level of the Romanian SMEs, a crucial role being played by the company's owner/manager.

5. Conclusions

In order to formulate some practices and strategies to be applied by the Romanian SMEs to reach an improved level of competitiveness we followed several stages, the main conclusions being the following.

1. At a theoretical level, there are proofs that the competitiveness of SMEs is heavily influenced by the specific characteristics of this type of firms.

2. In the case of SMEs, both approaches "competitiveness as a driver" and "competitiveness as an outcome" might be used to analyse the competitiveness of SMEs, being necessary an adaptation to the specific characteristics of SMEs.

3. From the perspective of "competitiveness as a driver", most SMEs, especially micro enterprises, might be characterised by a low competitiveness level, due to their limited resources as well as the high dependence on one person (entrepreneur/manager of the business).

4. From the perspective of "competitiveness as an outcome" a static analysis of SMEs profitability take precedence over the dynamic approach because of their main financing constraints.

5. The SMEs sector in Romania is characterised by a low level of profitability and productivity and most SMEs depend on the domestic market. That is why we consider that the main factor influencing this reality is the competitiveness level of the Romanian SMEs for which the three directions proposed by this research could contribute on medium term to an improvement of the situation.

6. The 2012 SBA data show that the employment and the value added have stabilised in 2010-2011 and that Romania has registered a high score only for the first criteria proposed by the evaluation--entrepreneurship. Moreover, our country had very low estimations for all the other nine indicators used to elaborate SBA fact sheets (between which we find criteria taken into discussion by us along this insight, such as access to finance, single market, skills and innovation, or internalisation).

7. The High-tech and the knowledge-intensive sectors are considered at the EU level drivers of competitiveness, situation that cannot have the same relevance at this moment for Romania where the share of this type of companies is still under the EU average.

8. There are proofs that once adopted, the proposed directions for gaining and enhancing SMEs competitiveness (the adoption of e-business, the internationalisation process and the adoption of innovation) will bring SMEs to reach an improved level of competitiveness.

9. The proposed directions for gaining and enhancing SMEs competitiveness (the adoption of e-business, the internationalisation process and the adoption of innovation) are well performed at the level of European SMEs. In the case of Romanian SMEs immediate actions should be taken to improve the e-business adoption, the internationalisation process and the adoption of innovation

Taking into consideration these aspects, we made some proposals regarding practices and strategies to be applied the Romanian SMEs to reach an improved level of competitiveness:

1. Romania should develop policies in the direction of promoting the internationalisation of SMEs by facilitating a better informational flow for entrepreneurs in order to respond and better personalise their offer to the exigencies, standards required and necessities of the foreign markets.

2. The promotion of partnerships between Romanian SMEs and R&D resources (such as: universities, public or private institutions and other organizations) should encourage and support the companies to develop and apply an increased level of innovation.

3. The facilitation of Romanian SMEs' access to funding sources: through information, mainly on European funds or internal or external partnering, foreign investments, etc.

4. Romanian SMEs should adopt the market-driven strategy; strategic alliances and integrative university collaborations, as innovation strategies, to develop and enhance their competitiveness on national and international markets.

Bibliography

1. Agerpress (2012), ONRC: 951.803 firme erau active la finele anului 2011, 13 March, [http://www.agerpres.ro/media/index.php/economic/ item/110779-ONRC-951803-firme-erau-active-la-finele-anului-2011.html], 28 April 2013.

2. Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO) (2010), Fraunhofer Institut fur System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI), Barriers to internationalisation and growth of EU's innovative companies, Final Report, Viena, p. v, [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/innovation/files/ proinno/innovation-intelligence-study-1_en.pdf], 10 December 2012.

3. Baltzan, Paige (2011), Business Driven Information Systems, 3rd Edition, Mc-Graw Hill/Irvin.

4. Barta Peter; Modreanu Ileana; Spirea Nina; Piti Marius (2012), Promovarea antreprenoriatului ca factor cheie pentru dezvoltarea economica, Fundatia post-privatizare, [http://www.postprivatizare.ro/romana/ wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Studiu-Antreprenoriat.pdf], 24 April 2013.

5. Barta Peter; Modreanu Ileana; Spirea Nina; Piti Marius (2012), Situatia curenta a Intreprinderilor mici si mijlocii din Romania, Fundatia post-privatizare, [http://www.postprivatizare.ro/romana/wp-content/ uploads/2012/06/studiu-IMM_2012.pdf], 24 April 2013.

6. Barta, Peter; Modreanu Ileana; Spirea Nina; Piti Marius (2013), Raportul fundatiei post-privatizare privind sectorul IMM din Romania, Fundatia post-privatizare, colaboratori: Alexandru Dinu, Carmen Prosan, Roxana Sescioreanu, Adam Tanase, [http://www.postprivatizare.ro/romana/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/ Raport-IMM-2013.pdf], 24 May 2013.

7. Biazzo, Stefano; Garengo, Patrizia (2012) Performance Measurement with the Balanced Scorecard. A Practical Approach to Implementation within SMEs, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

8. Borga, Andrei; Muste, Sevastita; Cerbu (Muregan) Andruta (2011), "Studies Regarding the Development of Academic Spin-Offs in Romania and Worldwide", in Bulletin UASVM Agriculture, 68(2), pp. 172-177.

9. CNIPMMR, Strategia consiliului national al Intreprinderilor private mici si mijlocii din romania 2012-2016, project, [http://www.cnipmmr.ro/ CNIPMMR-Despre-Noi/STRATEGIE-CNIPMMR-2012-2016.pdf], 29 April 2013.

10. Depperu, Donatella; Cerrato, Daniele (2005), "Analyzing International Competitiveness at the firm level: concepts and measures", Working Paper no. 32, Universita Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore, Piacenza, [http://dipartimenti.unicatt.it/dises-wp_azzurra_05_32.pdf], 10 December 2012.

11. Deshpande, R.; Farley, J. U.; Webster, Jr. F. E. (1993), "Corporate culture, customer orientation, and innovativeness in Japanese firms: a quadrad analysis", in Journal of Marketing, Volume 57, pp. 23-27.

12. Duma, Florin (2012), "Developments and Constraints for the Romanian Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises", in Proceedings- 10th International Conference on Management, Enterprise and Benchmarking (MEB 2012), Budapest, Hungary, pp. 131-142, [http://kgk.uni-obuda.hu/sites/default/ files/09_Duma%20Florin.pdf], 10 march 2013.

13. Dunford, Michael; Louri, Helen; Rosenstock, Manfred (2001), "Competition, Competitiveness, and Enterprise Policies", in R. Hall, A., Smith, L. Tsoukalis, (editors), Competitiveness and cohesion in EU policies, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 109-146.

14. Dung Le, Kim; Franz, Rothlauf (2008), "Foreign market entry of e-business companies and implications for theories of internationalization", Working Paper 4, 2008, Johannes GutenbergUniversity Mainz, [http://wi.bwl.uni-mainz.de/publikationen/Working_Paper_04_08_KL.pdf], 10 December 2012.

15. EC (1995), Green Paper on Innovation, [http://europa.eu/documents/comm/green_papers/pdf/com95_688_en.pdf], 10 December 2012.

16. EC (2007), Supporting the internalization of SMEs, Final Report of the Expert Group, [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/files/support_measures/internationalisation/report_internat_en.pdf], 10 December 2012.

17. EC (2008), eBusiness Guide for SMEs. eBusiness Software and Services in the European Market, [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/e-bsn/ebusiness-solutions-guide/docs/eBusiness_Guide_for_SMEs.pdf], 29 April 2013.

18. EC (2010), Internationalisation of European SMEs, [http://ec.europa.eu/ enterprise/policies/sme/market-access/files/internationalisation_of_european_smes_final_en.pdf], 30 April 2013.

19. EC (2012), SBA Fact Sheet 2012--Romania, [http://ec.europa.eu/ enterprise/policies/sme/facts-figures-analysis/performance-review/ files/countries-sheets/2012/romania_en.pdf], 23 April 2013.

20. EC, Enterprise and Industry, ^Integration of SMEs in global digital value chains", [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/ict/ebsn/digital_supply_chains/ index_en.htm], 10 March 2013.

21. EC, Enterprise and Industry, "What is eBSN?', [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/ict/ebsn/what/index_en.htm], 10 March 2013.

22. ECORYS, (2011/2012), EU SMEs in 2012: at the crossroads. Annual Report on Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in the EU, Rotterdam, [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/facts-figures-analysis/ performance-review/files/supporting-documents/2012/annualreport_en.pdf], 10 January 2013.

23. EIM Business & Policy Research (2010), Internationalization of European SMEs, Zoetermeer, [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/market-access/files/internationalisation_of_european_smes_final_en.pdf], 10 January 2013.

24. GfK (2012), Amway European Entrepreneurship report 2012. The unleashed potential of entrepreneurship in times of Crisis, Amway European Entrepreneurship Report 2012, Nuremberg, Germany, [http://www.entrepreneurship-center.uni-muenchen.de/aktuelles/amway-report-2012/amway_broschuere_2609_click.pdf], 24 April 2013.

25. GmbH, Technopolis Group Ltd. and iCons srl (2012), Evaluation of the EU Initiative "Stimulating Innovation for European Enterprises through smart use of ICT", Final Report, [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/ict/files/ebsn/best-practices/ebsn-study_final-report_en.pdf], 10 March 2013.

26. Hatzichronoglou, T. (1996), "Globalisation and Competitiveness: Relevant Indicators", in OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers, OECD Publishing, pp. 1-61, [http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/ 885511061376], 10 December 2012.

27. Hollanders, Hugo (2009), "Measuring innovation: the European Innovation Scoreboard", in: E. Villalba (ed.), Measuring Creativity, Proceedings from the conference, 'Can creativity be measured?', Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, [http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/doc/ creativity/report/measure.pdf], 30 April 2013.

28. Man, Thomas W.Y.; Lau Theresa; Chan K.F. (1998), "Conceptualisation of SMEs' Competitiveness: a Focus on Entrepreneurial Competencies, [http://www.sbaer.uca.edu/research/icsb/1998/27.pdf], 10 December 2012.

29. Negraru, Cristina (2012), "Profilul antreprenorului roman. Cum s-a schimbat in criza", in Wall-Street, 13 February, [http://www.wallstreet.ro/articol/Start-Up/116542/ profilul-antreprenorul-roman-cum- s-a-schimbat-in-criza.html#ixzz2aU9HpxOW ], 23 April 2013.

30. Nicolescu, Ovidiu; Haiduc, Ioan C.; Nancu, Dumitru (coord.) (2011), Carta Alba a IMM-urilor din Romania 2011, Bucuregti: Editura Sigma.

31. Pislaru, Dragos; Modreanu, Ileana (2012), Contributia IMM-urilor la cresterea economica--prezent si perspective, Bucuresti: Editura Economica, [http://facultateademanagement.ro/wp-content/uploads/Studiu_ Contributia-IMM-urilor-la-cresterea-ec.-DP.pdf], 24 April 2013.

32. Porter, Michael (1998), "Clusters and the New Economics of Competition", in Harvard Business Review, November-December, 7790.

33. Racolta-Paina, Nicoleta Dorina (2013), Analiza competitivitatii IMM-urilor din Uniunea Europeana (2007-2011). Proces si masurare, in Interferente Euro-Atlantice. 20 de ani de Studii Europene la Universitatea "Babes-Bolyai", Liciu C. Tirau, Stefan Melancu (editors), EFES, Cluj Napoca, 272-290.

34. Rutihinda, Cranmer (2008), "Factors Influencing the Internationalization of Small and Medium Size Enterprises", in International Business & Economics Research Journal, Vol. 7, No. 12, 45-53.

35. Saisana, Michaela (2012), Monitoring SMEs' performance in Europe Indicators fit for purpose, Methodological note, JRC Scientific and Policy report, Report EUR 25577 EN, Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/facts-figures-analysis/ performance-review/files/saisana_jrc_sbamethodology_eur25577.pdf], 24 April 2013.

36. Uden, Lorna (2007), "How to Promote Competitive Advantages for SMEs: Issues, Ideas and Innovation", in Journal of Business Systems, Governance and Ethics, Vol. 2, No. 2, 1-15.

37. UNDP-APDIP- e note (2005), Why Should Countries Embed ICTs into SME Policy, [http://www.apdip.net/apdipenote/4.pdf], 10 December 2012.

38. World Competitiveness Center (WCC), Methodology, [http://www.imd.org/wcc/research-methodology/], 24 May2013.

Nicoleta Dorina Racolta-Paina *, Monica Ioana Burca-Voicu **

* Associate professor, at the Faculty of European Studies, Babef-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Contact: npaina@euro.ubbcluj.ro.

** PhD candidate, teaching assistant at the Faculty of European Studies, Babef-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Contact: mvoicu@euro.ubbcluj.ro.

(1) Thomas Hatzichronoglou, "Globalisation and Competitiveness: Relevant Indicators", in OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers, 1996/05, OECD Publishing, p. 3, 10 December 2012.

(2) Ibidem.

(3) World Competitiveness Center (WCC), Methodology, [http://www.imd.org/wcc/research-methodology/], 5 June 2013.

(4) ECORYS, EU SMEs in 2012: at the crossroads. Annual Report on Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in the EU, 2011/12, Rotterdam, p. 9, [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/facts-figures-analysis/performance-review/ files/supporting-documents/2012/annual-report_en.pdf], 10 January 2013.

(5) Florin Duma, "Developments and Constraints for the Romanian Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises", in Proceedings- 10th International Conference on Management, Enterprise and Benchmarking (MEB 2012), Budapest, Hungary, 2012, p. 140, [http://kgk.uni-obuda.hu/sites/ default/files/09_Duma%20Florin.pdf], 10 March 2013.

(6) Michael Dunford; Helen Louri; Manfred Rosenstock, "Competition, Competitiveness, and Enterprise Policies", in R. Hall, A. Smith, L. Tsoukalis (editors), Competitiveness and cohesion in EU policies, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001, p. 109.

(7) Donatella Depperu, Daniele Cerrato, "Analyzing International Competitiveness at the firm level: concepts and measures", Working Paper no. 32, Universita Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore, Piacenza, 2005, p. 5, [http://dipartimenti.unicatt.it/dises_wp_azzurra_05_32.pdf], 10 December 2012.

(8) Nicoleta Dorina Racolta-Paina, "Analiza competitivitatii IMM_urilor din Uniunea Europeana (2007-2011). Proces si masurare", in Liviu C. Tirau, Stefan Melancu (editors), Interference Euro-Atlantice. 20 de ani de Studii Europene la Universitatea "Babes-Bolyai", Cluj-Napoca: EFES, 2013, p. 275.

(9) Donatella Depperu, Daniele Cerrato, "Analyzing International Competitiveness at the firm level: concepts and measures", Working Paper no. 32, Universita Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore, Piacenza, 2005, pp. 7-9, [http://dipartimenti.unicatt.it/dises_wp_azzurra_05_32.pdf], 10 December 2012.

(10) Michael Porter, Competitive Advantage: Creating and sustaining superior performance, The Free Press Edition, 1998, p. 12.

(11) Donatella Depperu, Daniele Cerrato, "Analyzing International Competitiveness at the firm level: concepts and measures", Working Paper no. 32, Universita Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore, Piacenza, 2005, p. 7, [http://dipartimenti.unicatt.it/dises_wp_azzurra_05_32.pdf], 10 December 2012.

(12) Stefano Biazzo; Patrizia Garengo, Performance Measurement with the Balanced Scorecard. A Practical Approach to Implementation within SMEs, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2012, pp. 55-56.

(13) Thomas W.Y Man; Theresa Lau; K.F., Chan, "Conceptualisation of SMEs' Competitiveness: a Focus on Entrepreneurial Competencies", 1998, p. 1, [http://www.sbaer.uca.edu/research/ icsb/1998/27.pdf], 10 December 2012.

(14) Stefano Biazzo; Patrizia Garengo, Performance Measurement with the Balanced Scorecard. A Practical Approach to Implementation within SMEs, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2012, pp. 55-56.

(15) Ibidem.

(16) Agerpress, ONRC: 951.803 firme erau active la finele anului 2011, 13 March 2012, [http://www.agerpres.ro/media/index.php/economic/item/110779-ONRC-951803-firme-erau active-la-finele-anului-2011.html], 28 April 2013.

(17) GfK, Amway European Entrepreneurship report 2012. The unleashed potential of entrepreneurship in times of Crisis, Amway European Entrepreneurship Report 2012, Nuremberg, Germany, p. 5, [http://www.entrepreneurship-center.uni-muenchen.de/aktuelles/amway-report-2012/amway_broschuere_2609_click.pdf], 24 April 2013.

(18) Peter Barta, Ileana Modreanu, Nina Spirea, Marius Piti, Promovarea antreprenoriatului ca factor cheie pentru dezvoltarea economica, Fundatia post-privatizare, octombrie 2012, pp. 28-30, [http://www.postprivatizare.ro/romana/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/StudiuAntreprenoriat.pdf], 24 April 2013.

(19) Cristina Negraru, "Profilul antreprenorului roman. Cum s-a schimbat in criza", in Wall-Street, 13 february 2012, [http://www.wall-street.ro/articol/Start-Up/116542/profilul-antreprenorulroman-cum-s-a-schimbat-in-criza.html#ixzz2aU9HpxOW], 23 April 2013.

(20) EC, SBA Fact Sheet 2012--Romania, 2012, p. 1, [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/facts-figures-analysis/performance-review/files/ countries-sheets/2012/romania_en.pdf], 23 April 2013.

(21) Peter Barta, Ileana Modreanu, Nina Spirea, Marius Piti, Raportul fundatiei post-privatizare privind sectorul IMM din Romania, Fundatia post-privatizare, colaboratori: Alexandru Dinu, Carmen Prosan, Roxana Sescioreanu, Adam Tanase, 2013, p. 71, [http://www.postprivatizare.ro/ romana/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Raport-IMM2013.pdf], 24 May 2013.

(22) Peter Barta, Ileana Modreanu, Nina Spirea, Marius Piti, Situatia curenta a intreprinderilor mici si mijlocii din Romania, Fundatia post-privatizare, 2012, pp. 4-25, [http://www.postprivatizare.ro/romana/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/studiu-IMM_2012.pdf], 24 April 2013.

(23) Dragos Pislaru, Ileana Modreanu, Contributia IMM-urilor la cresterea economica--prezent si perspective, Bucuresti, Editura Economica, 2012, p. 13, [http://facultateademanagement.ro/wp-content/uploads/Studiu_Contributia-IMM-urilor-lacresterea-ec.-DP.pdf], 24 April 2013.

(24) EC, SBA Fact Sheet 2012--Romania, 2012, p. 1, [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/facts-figures-analysis/performance-review/files/ countries-sheets/2012/romania_en.pdf], 23 April 2013.

(25) ECORYS, EU SMEs in 2012: at the crossroads. Annual Report on Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in the EU, 2011/12, Rotterdam, Tabel A2, p. 72 and Tabel A8, p. 79, [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/facts-figures-analysis/performancereview/files/supporting-documents/2012/annual-report_en.pdf], 10 January 2013.

(26) Peter Barta, Ileana Modreanu, Nina Spirea, Marius Piti, Situatia curenta a intreprinderilor mici si mijlocii din Romania, Fundatia post-privatizare, 2012, pp. 4-25, [http://www.postprivatizare.ro/romana/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/studiu-IMM_2012.pdf], 24 April 2013.

(27) CNIPMMR, Strategia consiliului national al intreprinderilor private mici si mijlocii din Romania 2012-2016, project, p. 10, [http://www.cnipmmr.ro/CNIPMMR-Despre-Noi/STRATEGIE-CNIPMMR-2012-2016.pdf], 29 April 2013.

(28) Michaela Saisana, Monitoring SMEs' performance in Europe Indicators fit for purpose, Methodological note, JRC Scientific and Policy Report, Report EUR 25577 EN, Luxembourg, Publications Office of the European Union 2012, p. 3, [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/ sme/facts-figures-analysis/performance-review/files/saisana_jrc_sbamethodology_eur25577.pdf], 24 April 2013.

(29) the nine criteria measured for this indicator are: rejected loan applications and loan offers, access to public financial support including guarantees, willingness of banks to provide a loan, relative difference in interest rate levels between loans up to EUR 1 million and loans over EUR 1 million, total duration to get paid, lost payments, venture capital investments--early stage, strength of legal rights, depth of credit information index.

(30) skills and innovation measures ten criteria: introducing product or process innovations, introducing marketing or organizational, innovations, innovating in-house, innovative collaborating with others, sales of new-to-market and new-to-firm innovations turnover, participating in EU funded research, selling online, purchasing online, enterprises providing training to their employees , employees' participation rate in education and training.

(31) for the internalization indicator we have eight criteria evaluated: importing from outside the EU, exporting outside the EU, cost required to import, time required to import, number of documents required to import, cost required to export, time required to export, number of documents required to export.

(32) Michaela Saisana, Monitoring SMEs' performance in Europe Indicators fit for purpose, Methodological note, JRC Scientific and Policy report, Report EUR 25577 EN, Luxembourg, Publications Office of the European Union 2012, pp. 9-12, [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/facts-figures-analysis/performance-review/files/saisana_jrc_sbamethodology_ eur25577.pdf], 24 April 2013.

(33) EC, SBA Fact Sheet--Romania, 2012, pp. 1-14, [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/ facts-figures-analysis/performance-review/files/countries-sheets/2012/romania_en.pdf], 30 April 2013.

(34) Kim Dung Le; Franz Rothlauf, "Foreign market entry of e-business companies and implications for theories of internationalization", Working Paper 4, 2008, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, p. 1, [http://wi.bwl.uni-mainz.de/publikationen/Working_Paper_04_08_KL.pdf], 10 December 2012.

(35) Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO), Fraunhofer Institut fur System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI), Barriers to internationalisation and growth of EU's innovative companies, Final Report, Viena, 2010, p. v, [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/innovation/files/ proinno/innovation-intelligence-study1_en.pdf], 10 December 2013.

(36) EIM Business & Policy Research, Internationalization of European SMEs, Zoetermeer, 2010, p. 7, [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/market-access/files/internationalisation_of_european_smes_final_en.pdf], 10 January 2013.

(37) Paige Baltzan, Business Driven Information Systems, 3rd Edition, Mc-Graw Hill/Irvin, 2011, p. 65.

(38) Lorna, Uden, "How to Promote Competitive Advantages for SMEs: Issues, Ideas and Innovation", in Journal of Business Systems, Governance and Ethics, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2007, p. 1.

(39) UNDP-APDIP- e note (2005) Why Should Countries Embed ICTs into SME Policy, [http://www.apdip.net/apdipenote/4.pdf], 10 December 2012.

(40) Paige Baltzan, op.cit., pp. 79-80.

(41) EC, Enterprise and Industry, "Integration of SMEs in global digital value chains", [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/ict/ebsn/digital_supply_chains/index_en.htm], 10 March 2013.

(42) EC, eBusiness Guide for SMEs. eBusiness Software and Services in the European Market, 2008, p. 10, [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/e-bsn/ebusiness-solutions-guide/docs/eBusiness_Guide_for_ SMEs.pdf], 29 July 2013.

(43) EC, Enterprise and Industry,, "What is eBSN?', [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/ict/ebsn/what/index_en.htm], 10 March 2013.

(44) EC, Enterprise and Industry, "Integration of SMEs in global digital value chains", [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/ict/ebsn/digital_supply_chains/index_en.htm], 10 March 2013.

(45) GmbH, Technopolis Group Ltd. and iCons srl, Evaluation of the EU Initiative "Stimulating Innovation for European Enterprises through smart use of ICT", Final Report, 2012, p. 209, [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/ict/files/ebsn/best-practices/ebsn-study_final-report_en.pdf], 10 March 2013.

(46) EC, eBusiness Guide for SMEs. eBusiness Software and Services in the European Market, 2008, p.18, [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/e-bsn/ebusiness-solutions-guide/docs/eBusiness_Guide_for_SMEs.pdf], 29 April 2013.

(47) According to the data offered by a national survey carried out by the CNIPMMR (the National Council of Small and Medium-Sized Private Enterprises in Romania) on a sample of 1.723 Romanian SMEs.

(48) Ovidiu Nicolescu et al. (coord.), Carta Alba a IMM-urilor din Romania, 2011, Bucurefti: Editura Sigma, p. 267.

(49) EC, SBA Fact Sheet--Romania, 2012, p. 12, [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/facts-figures-analysis/performance-review/files/ countries-sheets/2012/romania_en.pdf], 30 April 2013.

(50) EIM Business & Policy Research, Internationalization of European SMEs, Zoetermeer, 2010, p. 5, [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/market-access/files/internationalisation_of_european_smes_final_en.pdf], 10 January 2013.

(51) EC, Supporting the internalization of SMEs, Final Report of the Expert Group, 2007, p. 4, [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/files/support_measures/internationalisation/report_internat_en.pdf], 10 December 2012.

(52) Ibidem, p. 9.

(53) Cranmer Rutihinda, "Factors Influencing the Internationalization of Small and Medium Size Enterprises", in International Business & Economics Research Journal, Vol. 7, No. 12, 2008, p. 52.

(54) EC, Internationalisation of European SMEs, 2010, p. 5, [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/ sme/market-access/files/internationalisation_of_european_smes_final_en.pdf], 30 April 2013.

(55) Ibidem, pp. 5-6.

(56) EC, SBA Fact Sheet--Romania, 2012, p. 14, [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/ facts-figures-analysis/performance-review/files/countries-sheets/2012/romania_en.pdf], 30 April 2013.

(57) EC, Green Paper on Innovation, 1995, p. 1, [http://europa.eu/documents/comm/green_papers/pdf/com95_688_en.pdf], 10 December 2012.

(58) R. Deshpande; J. U. Farley; F. E.Webster, Jr., "Corporate culture, customer orientation, and innovativeness in Japanese firms: a quadrad analysis", in Journal of Marketing, Volume 57, 1993, p. 24.

(59) Harrison and Watson, 1998, quoted by ECORYS, EU SMEs in 2012: at the crossroads. Annual Report on Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in the EU, 2011/12, Rotterdam, p. 47, [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/facts-figures-analysis/performance-review/files/supporting-documents/2012/annual-report_en.pdf], 10 January 2013.

(60) EC, SBA Fact Sheet--Romania, 2012, p. 12, [http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/facts-figures-analysis/performance-review/files/countries-sheets/2012/romania_en.pdf], 30 April 2013.

(61) Hugo Hollanders, "Measuring innovation: the European Innovation Scoreboard", in: E. Villalba (ed.), Measuring Creativity, Proceedings from the conference, 'Can creativity be measured?', Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2009, pp.32-33, [http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/doc/creativity/report/measure.pdf], 30 April 2013.

(62) The data results from a 2011 national survey carried out by the CNIPMMR on a sample of 1.723 Romanian SMEs.

(63) Ovidiu Nicolescu et al. (coord.), op.cit., p. 257.
COPYRIGHT 2013 Universitatea Babes-Bolyai
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2013 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 
Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Racolta-Paina, Nicoleta Dorina; Burca-Voicu, Monica Ioana
Publication:Studia Europaea
Date:Jul 1, 2013
Words:7500
Previous Article:Cities; between engines for growth, and development.
Next Article:The reform of the economic and monetary union. Three visions for the advance of European integration.
Topics:

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters