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Organizational structure and performance in Dutch small firms

Author

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  • Marco Mosselman
  • Joris Meijaard
  • Maryse Brand

Abstract

The relationship between organizational structure and performance in small firms has received relatively limited attention over the last few decades. In understanding small firm performance this seems to be a serious omission. In this paper, we first present the rationale for including organizational structure in the analysis of small firm performance. Then, from the literature on organizational theory, we retrieve several dimensions that may be postulated to describe organizational structures of small firms. Based on the study of a stratified sample of 1411 Dutch small firms we show that nine structure stereotypes can be delineated. We further investigate the relevance of the empirical taxonomy by looking at the relationship with firm performance in terms of sales growth, profitability and innovativeness. Eventually, we conclude that organizational structure indeed matters and that it deserves to be taken into account in models and future analysis of small firm performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Mosselman & Joris Meijaard & Maryse Brand, 2005. "Organizational structure and performance in Dutch small firms," Scales Research Reports N200420, EIM Business and Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:eim:papers:n200420
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Oliver E. Williamson, 1967. "Hierarchical Control and Optimum Firm Size," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 123-123.
    2. Robson, Paul J A & Bennett, Robert J, 2000. "SME Growth: The Relationship with Business Advice and External Collaboration," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 193-208.
    3. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 1-29, February.
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    5. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 2005. "On the Design of Hierarchies: Coordination versus Specialization," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(4), pages 675-702, August.
    6. Danny Miller & Jean-Marie Toulouse, 1986. "Chief Executive Personality and Corporate Strategy and Structure in Small Firms," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(11), pages 1389-1409, November.
    7. Jeremy C. Stein, 2002. "Information Production and Capital Allocation: Decentralized versus Hierarchical Firms," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(5), pages 1891-1921, October.
    8. Jacques Cremer, 1980. "A Partial Theory of the Optimal Organization of a Bureaucracy," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 11(2), pages 683-693, Autumn.
    9. Levy, Margi & Powell, Philip, 1998. "SME Flexibility and the Role of Information Systems," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 183-196, September.
    10. Nickell, Stephen & Nicolitsas, Daphne & Dryden, Neil, 1997. "What makes firms perform well?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 783-796, April.
    11. Luis Garicano, 2000. "Hierarchies and the Organization of Knowledge in Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 874-904, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Zélia Serrasqueiro & Paulo Maçãs Nunes, 2008. "Performance and size: empirical evidence from Portuguese SMEs," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 195-217, August.
    2. Andy Cosh & Xiaolan Fu & Alan Hughes, 2012. "Organisation structure and innovation performance in different environments," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 301-317, September.
    3. Der-Fang Hung, 2015. "Sustained Competitive Advantage and Organizational Inertia: The Cost Perspective of Knowledge Management," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer;Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), vol. 6(4), pages 769-789, December.
    4. Fermín Mallén & Ricardo Chiva & Joaquín Alegre & Jacob Guinot, 2016. "Organicity and performance in excellent HRM organizations: the importance of organizational learning capability," Review of Managerial Science, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 463-485, July.
    5. Gerrit de Wit & Haibo Zhou, 2009. "Determinants and dimensions of firm growth," Scales Research Reports H200903, EIM Business and Policy Research.
    6. Wendy L. Martin & Alexander McKelvie & G. T. Lumpkin, 2016. "Centralization and delegation practices in family versus non-family SMEs: a Rasch analysis," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 755-769, October.
    7. Petrit Gashi & Iraj Hashi & Geoff Pugh, 2014. "Export behaviour of SMEs in transition countries," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 42(2), pages 407-435, February.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • M21 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Economics - - - Business Economics
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory

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