Which SMEs seek external support? Business characteristics, management behaviour and external influences in a contingency approach

Mole, Kevin, North, David J. and Owen, Robyn (2017) Which SMEs seek external support? Business characteristics, management behaviour and external influences in a contingency approach. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 35 (3). pp. 476-499. ISSN 0263-774X

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Abstract

To improve SME growth and competitiveness, governments often encourage business owner-managers to make use of external sources of support. Whether they seek this depends on the degree to which they perceive themselves to need assistance. Additionally its use can be constrained by market failures. In this paper, we model whether SME owner-managers seek information and advice from formal sources, including public and private providers. In 2011, the researchers conducted a telephone survey of 1202 SMEs (1-249 employees) in England to assess the use and non-use of external support between 2008 and 2011. Using a contingency approach, we model various influences on the use and non-use of formal support and identify those owner-managers who face more concerns but have less confidence in their capabilities. We find the demand for support, especially from private providers, is fuelled by a firm’s objective to grow and a size threshold, although this is moderated by various concerns which increase the likelihood of using public sources. The willingness to take informal advice can act as a stepping stone to using formal sources. Whilst market failures affected less than a fifth of firms, those with women directors were particularly affected as were newly founded firms.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Journal title until 2017: Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy (0263-774X) New journal title Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space (2399-6544)
Research Areas: A. > Business School > Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR)
Item ID: 20455
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Stanislava Angelova
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2016 10:27
Last Modified: 21 Aug 2019 15:13
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/20455

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