EXPLORING DECISION STRATEGIES AND EVALUATIONS OF PERFORMANCE BY NETWORKED AND NON-NETWORKED SMALL U.S. BUSINESSES
NANCY J. MILLER
TERRY L. BESSER
A strategic network perspective established the theoretical foundation for exploring aspects of business management in 383 small businesses predominantly operating in small communities across the U.S. It was proposed that those owner/managers involved in formal voluntary organizations to promote business effectiveness would differ in their strategic decisions and evaluations of performance from businesses without such formal group affiliations. Business strategies assessed involved the emphasis placed on employees, customers, and community, and the effect of these three variables in explaining four elements of business performance. Networking businesses were found to place more emphasis on strategies dealing with employees, customers, and community than non-networking businesses. Final results suggested that network membership held a direct effect on business strategies, and that these strategies held varying direct effects on perceptions of business performance. Findings offer initial support for strategic network theory as well as practical information for small business owners considering network membership.
Small business, networking, business strategy, small community
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