Fonseca Mendes, Luis Antonio
December 2013
E + M Ekonomie a Management / E+M Economics & Management;2013, Vol. 2013 Issue 4, p89
Academic Journal
The main aim of this research focused on a set of concerns regarding the role of SME senior manager in planning/development of initiatives directed towards quality continuous improvement. These concerns ended up in the research's main focus and got materialized throughout the following purposes: (i) to explore the relationship between senior managers' characteristics within SME, and firms' propensity to develop quality improvement programs' implementation; (ii) to compare leadership related initiatives in small firms to those from medium-sized ones. Attending to these purposes and other arguments and concerns highlighted throughout research focusing on both SME and quality management literature, the following hypotheses were formulated: (i) Senior managers with specific training in quality management themes play a role more preponderant in planning and performing quality improvement programs; (ii) Among SME, firms' dimension influences leadership related initiatives. For this purpose, a questionnaire based, on previous case studies and a deep literature review focused on quality management and SME management was mailed to 600 Portuguese SME randomly selected from the pan-European AMADEUS database. From the sample, around 16 % of questionnaires were completed and returned. Results suggest that if some specific characteristics, like senior manager's nature, time running the business, or his participation or not in SME creation, doesn't seem to influence firms' propensity to quality improvement; some other characteristics may play a significant role. For example, factors like age or specific training on quality management may determine, or at least influence, somehow, senior manager's attitude and commitment towards quality improvement. Furthermore, attending to SME hierarchical structure characteristics, leadership issues assume high importance in quality improvement practices in such organizations. Moreover, results suggest that current leadership initiatives assume a higher preponderance in smaller firms.


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