How do Mintzberg’s design parameter relate to the ability of SMEs to identify entrepreneurial opportunities?
Previous research provides limited insights about the relation between organisational structure and the opportunity identification capabilities (OIC) of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). As a consequence, Mintzberg’s (1980) theory on organisational structure has been used as a tool in order to further study the relation between organisational structure and the OIC of SMEs. Here, it is argued that job specialization, formalization of behaviour, unit grouping, unit size, liaison devices and decentralization relate to the OIC of SMEs. To test these ideas, a qualitative multiple case study was conducted in four different SMEs operating in different industries and located both in the Netherlands as well as in Germany. The findings of this research show that job specialization, formalization of behaviour and unit size are negatively related to the ability of SMEs to identify new goods, services, raw materials, markets and organizing methods (i.e. their OIC) whereas unit grouping, decentralization and liaison devices positively relate to the OIC of SMEs. Here, especially the parameters ‘job specialization’ and ‘formalization of behaviour’ seem to profoundly influence the capabilities of SMEs to identify new opportunities as high levels of both parameters inhibit that organisational members can experiment, be creative and take risks. These findings are stemmed in six recommendations for SMEs that helps them to increase their capabilities to identify new opportunities
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen