Outcomes and Perspectives
15. Influences on the growth of Portuguese SMEs Ana Paula Silva and Graham Hall A formidable amount of literature has been devoted to the factors influencing the performance of small and/or medium sized enterprises. For the most part this dates from the 1980s though the most famous contribution was made 50 years earlier (Gibrat, 1931), albeit that it attempted to prove the lack of relationships, that is, between firm size and the mean and standard deviation of the distribution of proportionate rates of growth. Virtually all researchers in this area have drawn their samples from populations of SMEs located in Anglo Saxon economies. This chapter represents a tentative first step towards rectifying this imbalance by examining the influences on the performance of SMEs in the epitome of Southern European culture, Portugal. There would seem little doubt that a nation’s culture can potentially affect its level of entrepreneurial activity and the form it might take. Within Hofstede’s (2001) seminal categorization, a country’s location on his ‘Uncertainty avoidance’ axis, for instance, might be expected to be correlated with its entrepreneurs’ willingness to take risks, whilst all four axes could arguably be related to the degree of innovativeness displayed. Theoretical constructs underlying growth modelling have been mostly developed from an Anglo American point of view. Yet, Hofstede’s (2001) seminal categorization illustrates how polar-opposite is the location of Portugal on the one hand, and those of Great Britain and USA on the other hand in terms of all the four primary dimensions on which...
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