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Strategic planning - A comparison of high and low technology manufacturing small firms

O'Regan, Nicholas; Ghobadian, Abby


Nicholas O'Regan

Abby Ghobadian


This paper contends that firms can be classified according to the level of technology deployed in their products and processes into two main types: high and low technology firms. The paper further contends that the level of technology deployed will impact on the overall strategic planning process and its main drivers: leadership and organisational culture resulting in differing levels of corporate performance. Based on a nation-wide sample of 194 Managing Directors and Chief Executives of small and medium sized manufacturing firms, this study found that high technology firms tend to emphasise transformational and human resources leadership styles. Both of these leadership styles correlate positively with strategic planning and with the majority of performance indicators used. On the other hand, low technology firms emphasise transactional leadership, which correlates with internal strategy characteristics and short-term performance indicators. Similar results were obtained when culture styles were correlated with strategy and performance indicators in both types of firms. Finally, the overall performance of both types of firms indicates that high technology firms performed better than low technology firms. The findings suggest that low technology firms can achieve a similar confidence in facing the external environment as high technology firms by changing their strategic planning, leadership and organisational culture emphasis. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Oct 1, 2005
Journal Technovation
Print ISSN 0166-4972
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 25
Issue 10
Pages 1107-1117
Keywords high technology, strategic planning, leadership, culture, performance
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