The strategy-as-practice perspective of business development in industrial SMEs

Mika Westerlund, Erik Pöntiskoski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This paper analyzes the antecedents and diversity of business development strategy in industrial SMEs from the strategy-as-practice perspective. Various strategies and their application are suggested in the industrial marketing literature. Yet much of the extant research focuses large firms and little is known about business development practices in small and medium sized enterprises (SME). Our empirical quantitative analysis of 91 firms revealed three focus areas that underlie the development strategy choices made by industrial SMEs. These factors are: development of business support systems, development of international distribution, and development of production management. Furthermore, SMEs can be categorized into three groups according to the type of their business development strategy: (1) support systems enhancers, (2) global operations establishers, and (3) international sales facilitators. The role of brands and the extent of networking are significant explanators of the diversity among the business development strategies of industrial SMEs. Surprisingly, excellence in customer care does not explain the diversity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
JournalJournal of Japanese Operations Management and Strategy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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