Browsing by Subject "SMEs"

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  • Dahl, Johanna (Hanken School of Economics, 2017-04-07)
    This thesis focuses on the simultaneous existence of cooperation and competition between firms, and falls under the research area of coopetition. In recent years, coopetition, inherently complex and paradoxical in nature, has attracted increasing attention in both business practice and research. As a result, coopetition is confirmed as a phenomenon of contemporary importance to companies varying in size and industry. Moreover, from a research standpoint, coopetition has been established as a distinct theoretical approach to explain inter-firm relationships and, in particular, cooperation between directly competing firms. Yet, to advance extant knowledge on coopetition, calls have been made for research scrutinizing the interaction process and focusing on the handling of simultaneous cooperation and competition, at multiple levels of analysis starting from the individual. To this end, the overall aim of this article-based thesis is to develop a theoretical understanding of how coopetition is maintained as a process and as a strategy, alongside an empirical understanding of the interplay between cooperation and competition. The thesis answers three interrelated research questions, addressing the dynamics of coopetitive interaction, the deliberate and emergent features of coopetition, and the balancing of cooperation and competition. Article 1 contributes by conceptualizing change in coopetitive interactions through three mechanisms. The outlined mechanisms are inter-organizational learning manifested in cooperation between competitors, intra-organizational learning based on exchanges of contrasting experiences between individuals within the organization, and the development of the external business environment. The article further contributes by developing the notion that the nature of the change process underlying coopetition, in terms of the generative change mechanism and predefined or discontinuous character, depends on the balance and strength of the cooperative and competitive interactions. In Article 2, the theoretical contribution comprises a framework explaining coopetition as a deliberate and/or emergent strategy. By integrating research on strategy-as- practice and, thus, focusing on the social nature of coopetition, the framework delivers four scenarios on how coopetition strategy manifests in an organization. The framework implies that coopetition strategy ought to be explained as an activity occurring across multiple levels in an organization, and at an institutional and inter-organizational level. Furthermore, the framework broadens extant views on individuals who influence strategy and activities that may be consequential for the strategy. Article 3 contributes to discussions on the influence of different levels of strength of the cooperative and competitive interactions on relational outcomes. The contextual contribution lies in the study’s examination of coopetition in relation to the internationalization process and among a group of SMEs operating in a traditional manufacturing industry. Empirical results imply that the continuity, scope, and strategic impact of opportunities gained through coopetition vary with the balance and strength of the cooperative and competitive interactions.
  • Virtanen, Henrik; Björk, Peter; Sjöström, Elin (2017-08-15)
    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyse the deliberate social media marketing practices of a start-up company. The study aims to measure the effects of these practices (i.e. following potential customers and liking and commenting on their posts on Instagram) on creating and increasing awareness of the company’s business and gaining followers for the company’s Instagram account. Design/methodology/approach – The research is exploratory in nature and adopts an approach similar to that of action research. The research was enabled and facilitated by collaboration between the researchers and a company representative. The company offers an application for young mothers. Findings – The model developed in this study identifies the effects of the practice of endorsing and interacting with customers for marketing purposes. It points out following as a first-order practice that small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can employ to gain followers instantly on Instagram. Research limitations/implications – The method used limits the generalisability of the findings. However, the findings offer preliminary insights for future studies on Instagram marketing in SMEs. Practical implications – Companies can attain success in social media marketing by actively engaging with customers and potential customers on various social media platforms. Originality/value – There is a paucity of research focussing on Instagram marketing in SMEs. The model in this study contributes to theory on Instagram marketing and offers a framework that can help managers plan Instagram marketing strategies.
  • Virtanen, Henrik; Hagberg-Andersson, Åsa (2017)
    Studies of Finnish export partner groups have revealed that a fundamental problem exists concerning the limping cooperation between the small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the groups. Cooperation is strongly connected to the organization and coordination of the groups. Different organizational forms imply that the export manager’s role likewise differs. This paper examines the organization of export partner groups and the role of the export manager in relation to the organizational form and how this can enhance cooperation between the participating SMEs. Individuals who have worked as export managers were interviewed. In export partner groups, organization depends primarily on the companies’ technology, the compatibility between their products and services, and the goals of the groups. Different organizational forms have different benefits, and the export manager’s role concerning sales preparation and coordination, as well as management of other net activities, varies accordingly to the organizational form.
  • Androdegari, Federico; Saccani, Nicola; Kowalkowski, Christian; Vilo, Jyrki (2017)
    The discussion about business models has gained considerable attention in the last decade. Business model frameworks have been developed in the literature as management methods helping companies to comprehend and analyse their current business logic and guide the deployment of new strategies. In response to calls for a deeper understanding of the application of a business model approach to product-service systems (PSS), this study develops a two-level hierarchical framework that (i) includes a set of components with pertinent, second-order variables to take into account when undergoing the shift from products to solutions; (ii) supports industrial companies, especially SMEs, in designing their future business model and in consistently planning the actions needed to implement it. The framework was applied and refined within real-life settings. The application to KINE – a robot solutions supplier – shows how key challenges faced by servitization firms may be thoroughly addressed through the adoption of a business model perspective.
  • Virtanen, Henrik; Kock, Sören (2022-03-10)
    Purpose – The purpose of this study is to elaborate on the management, sources, levels of strength and dynamics of inherent tension in coopetition between small- and medium-sized firms (SMEs). Design/methodology/approach – An embedded single-case design is applied in the study. Two manufacturing SMEs in coopetition are studied. The units of analysis are their past dyadic coopetition with other competitors, their present coopetition with each other and their view of possible dyadic coopetition with other partners in the future. Findings – This study addresses the call for more research on coopetition and tension dynamics. It gives longitudinal insight into the changes of a coopetitive relationship through the evolution of tension inherently present in the relationship. Furthermore, the results show that a partial separation of the cooperative and competitive dimensions enables entrepreneurs’ integration of a contradictory logic. The successful management of tension also relies on mechanisms for mutual value appropriation, which eventually enhances the ability to embrace contradictions. Originality/value – This study contributes to the limited knowledge on tension management by showing how partners in coopetition apply different tension management principles or combinations of principles due to how the tension in the relationship evolves. Furthermore, on a practical level, it introduces a mapping or configuration scheme to identify the sources and levels of strength of inherent tension, enhancing coopetition partners’ ability to monitor their relationship over time.
  • Galkina, Tamara; Kock, Sören (Hanken School of Economics, 2014-10-17)
    As a growing market, Russia holds great economic interest and potential opportunities for international companies, especially Finnish SMEs. Due to their geographic proximity, Russia and Finland have a long history of established business and trade relations. Finland’s major economic institutions were formed during the period when the country was under Russian rule. Also, the two countries had bilateral trade relations for approximately forty years. Nowadays, Russia is acknowledged as one of Finland’s biggest trading partners and the most important direction for internationalisation of small and medium-sized Finnish companies. Finland has a strategic geopolitical position as a gateway between East and West; hence, there is great potential for the growth of trade, investment, technology transfer and other cooperation between Russian and Finnish businesses. The present book is a result of a long collaborative research project between the Hanken School of Economics, Finland, and St. Petersburg State University, Russia. The book is a response to two calls: one from Finnish business practitioners to develop practical guidelines on how to establish and operate small businesses in Russia and the other from the academe to conduct more research on Russia as a turbulent market with high potential for small entrepreneurial firms. What makes this book different from existing guide books on how to conduct business in Russia? First, it targets a very specific audience; namely, Finnish entrepreneurs and business practitioners who plan to establish their businesses in Russia or who already have companies operating there. We believe our target audience will benefit from this narrow focus as it addresses concrete problems typical for Finnish business people in Russia. We also hope that the results of our research will be employed for teaching purposes in business schools across Finland as, nowadays, many of them offer special courses on Russian business. Second, our research team comprises scholars from both Finland and Russia, which offers a dual perspective on this phenomenon. Third, the empirical part of this research is based on qualitative case studies, not on broad statistical analyses. This approach enabled us to go deeply into specific business cases and to perceive the challenges of running businesses in Russia through the eyes of entrepreneurs and managers.