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Strategic competence development in non-R&D-intensive small and medium-sized enterprises

  • Non-R&D-intensive firms and industries play and continue to play an important role in the German manufacturing industry, as their 41% share of value added in 2007 indicates. Nonetheless, non-R&D-intensive SMEs especially need to ready themselves for a future shaped by a continuously increasing internationalization of competition, rising knowledge intensity and complexity and an impairing job market situation due to demographic changes. Non-R&D-intensive SMEs are therefore more than ever required to boost the effective and efficient exploitation of firm-specific resources and competences in order to generate, secure or enhance competitive advantages. As studies however show, existing strategic competence management concepts are currently implemented rather by large firms. In addition to small firm size, low R&D intensity effects staff setup, innovation behavior, generation and use of knowledge and competitive market behavior which further negatively influence a firm's possibilities and propensity to implement these strategic competence management concepts. In a first step into this field of study, this master thesis aims to identify and analyze specific characteristics facilitating or discouraging an implementation of strategic competence development processes in non-R&D-intensive SMEs in the form of requirements, drivers and barriers. A literature review addressing the particularities of non-R&D-intensive SMEs and the attributes of current strategic competence management concepts discouraging an implementation of strategic competence development builds the foundation for nine guided interviews of explorative nature involving four non-R&D-intensive SMEs conducted to acquire qualitative empirical data to complement the theoretical findings. A total of 22 specific characteristics, i.e. eleven requirements as well as six drivers and five barriers, facilitating or discouraging an implementation of strategic competence development in non-R&D-intensive SMEs were identified after forging the bridge between theoretical and empirical findings.

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Author:Christian Kaiser
Subtitle (English):Deriving specific characteristics for the implementation of strategic competence development through theoretical and qualitative empirical analyses
Advisor:Armin Trost
Document Type:Master's Thesis
Year of Completion:2015
Year of first Publication:2015
Release Date:2015/11/26
Tag:Competitive advantage; German Manufacturing Industry; Non-R&D-intensive firms; Small and medium-sized enterprises; Strategic Competence Development; Strategic management
Degree Program:IMM - International Management
Functional area:Business Strategy