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High performance: Ownership and decision-making in SMEs

O'Regan, Nicholas; Sims, Martin; Ghobadian, Abby


Martin Sims

Abby Ghobadian


Purpose - To date there is a dearth of research on strategic decision-making in manufacturing small and medium sized firms. This research paper focuses on the key drivers of decision-making and organisational performance: ownership, decision-making (type and level) and employee deployment. These drivers are defined and operationalised. Design/methodology/approach - The validity of the constructs used and their relevance was tested through the qualitative phase of the research - in-depth interviews with chief executives and employer representative bodies. The survey instrument was also pilot tested. Findings - The findings indicate that the sample can be divided into performance leaders and laggards. Over 75 per cent of the leaders are independently owned and over 66 per cent of the laggards are subsidiary firms. Accordingly, ownership is a key factor in overall performance. This is confirmed by the degree of profitability of both classifications. Practical implications - The practical implications of the study are outlined in the paper. Chief executives are encouraged to focus on the aspects of ownership, decision making, and employee deployment that are associated with enhanced performance. Originality/value - This study focuses on decision making and employee deployment according to ownership and overall performance - factors hitherto under researched in SMEs. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


O'Regan, N., Sims, M., & Ghobadian, A. (2005). High performance: Ownership and decision-making in SMEs. Management Decision, 43(3), 382-396.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jun 10, 2005
Journal Management Decision
Print ISSN 0025-1747
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 43
Issue 3
Pages 382-396
Keywords corporate ownership, decision making, organizational performance, small to medium-sized enterprises, SMEs
Public URL
Publisher URL