Managing Global Transitions

Volume 2 · Number 2 · Fall 2004 · ISSN 1581-6311 (printed) 1854-6935 (online)

The Editor's Corner
Anita Trnavčevič
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The Number and Size of Firms: Why So Big a Difference?
Štefan Bojnec and Ana Xavier

The number of firms and their size are analysed for the Slovenian manufacturing sector on the basis of the firm-level evidence of the Business Register of Slovenia virtually representing all the firms in activity. A remarkable difference is found between the number of the registered manufacturing firms and the number of firms with employment. The increase in the number of all registered firms is remarkable, but it is less so for the number of firms with employment, suggesting that many more firms were being registered than were in reality economically active. The large majority of newly registered firms during the 1990s were firms without any recorded employment. Whilst the number of firms increased, the number of employees declined, the average manufacturing firm size measured by employees per firm declined. Private firms constitute the vast majority of the firms in activity at end of the 1990s and afterwards.
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Strategic Planning and Small Firm Growth: An Empirical Examination
Branka Skrt and Boštjan Antončič

Strategic thinking is important for small firms in the time of global competition, technological change and increased dynamics in markets. Even if many entrepreneurs do not formulate business plans, the strategic planning and systematic decision-making can be considered a key determinant of survival and success of small firms. The paper examines the relationship between strategic planning and small firm growth in terms of empirical analyses that include various strategic planning elements, which have not been given enough attention in past research. Seven hypotheses on the relationship between strategic planning and growth are developed and empirically tested by using data collected via questionnaire from 114 Slovenian smaller firms. The study has practical implications. Entrepreneurs need to be aware that strategic planning practices, processes and techniques can be beneficial for growth of the firm. In order to enable their firms to grow, entrepreneurs may like to consider exactly formulating vision and strategy, incorporating the elements of internationalization and networking in the firm vision, focusing on growth, profit, and market, among strategic analysis techniques paying special attention to analysis of market and competition, and exactly formulating generic business strategies. All these strategic planning efforts need to be reinforced by practices that follow the key growth and market orientations, and have company-wide support. The key implication of this study for research is that the assessment of the relationship between strategic planning and small firm growth needs to be done across various elements or dimensions.
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Catching-up, Regional Disparities and EU Cohesion Policy: The Case of Hungary
Jörg Lackenbauer

Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) such as Hungary are not only relatively backward with respect to the ‘old’ EU Member States (EU-15), but they are also witnessing a worrying rise of regional inequalities within their boundaries. With the example of Hungary, we try to identify the factors behind catching-up with the EU-15 in some regions (‘winner regions’) and falling-behind in others (‘loser regions’). By its very definition, EU cohesion policy has to consider both problems (national catching-up vs. the containment of regional disparities) very carefully in the enlarged EU. This is a complex issue, as regional policies often seem to face an equity-efficiency trade-off, as will bw shortly shown. On the basis of this analysis, we discuss how EU cohesion policy could contribute to attain higher national growth and, at the same time, contribute to the decrease in regional disparities. We use a theoretical approach that combines an endogenous growth framework with a new economic geography. The model we use shows that – in contrast to the traditionally used transport infrastructure policies – a policy that reduces the cost of innovation or increases the diffusion of innovation is able to reduce regional income inequality and agglomeration, and increase the national growth rate. The regional policies involved could be primary subsidies for research and technological development, investment in human capital or ICT infrastructure. In the final two sections of the paper, we discuss whether these regional policy prescriptions would fall on fertile soil in the light of Hungary's economic reality, and which could be promising EU cohesion policy schemes that would incorporate an innovation-oriented regional policy approach.
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Learning Organization Characteristics Contributed to its Readiness-to-Change: A Study of the Thai Mobile Phone Service Industry
Yuraporn Sudharatna and Laubie Li

This paper aims to verify the relationship between Learning Organizations (LO) characteristics and an organization's readiness-to-change. LOs, based on a review of the literature, seem to have the competitive advantage of high readiness-to-change in today is economic business environment. The mobile service providers in Thailand are selected for this study. The results have shown a substantial relationship between readiness-to-change and the LO characteristics of cultural values, leadership commitment and empowerment, communication, knowledge transfer, employee characteristics, and performance upgrading. This study confirms that LO characteristics are correlated to an organization's readiness-to-change, suggesting that it is essential for organizations to develop into LOs in order to survive and/or prosper in a competitive and ever changing in business environment.
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A Comparative Study of Metaphor in English and Slovene Popular Economic Discourse
Silva Bratož

This paper is aimed at analysing and comparing linguistic and conceptual metaphors identified in Slovene and English economic and business articles. It is focused on two important aspects of metaphor, namely its systematicity and organisation in hierarchical structures. The findings indicate much similarity in conceptual and linguistic metaphors between the two languages, but some differences in the frequency of particular linguistic metaphors. For example, both languages share conceptualisations of the economy as an organism and downward market movements as natural disasters. While these conceptual metaphors are often linguistically rendered with similar lexical metaphors, there are a few examples in which the linguistic realisation of a metaphor is culturally and/or linguistically conditioned. It has been argued that the metaphors identified in the Slovene popular economic discourse are largely influenced by the Anglo-American tradition.
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