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Trading Places – SMEs in the Global Economy

A Critical Research Handbook

Edited by Lester Lloyd-Reason and Leigh Sear

Lester Lloyd-Reason and Leigh Sear bring together leading researchers and thinkers in this critical guide to the ongoing, worldwide research shaping the role played by SMEs within today’s global economy. The expert contributors contend that the past twenty years have seen an explosion in research into international SMEs, resulting in a considerable body of academic literature and thinking. This research, they argue, may merely serve to increase our lack of understanding in this area, and often results in myths and misconceptions upon which SME policies and support programmes have been developed and introduced.
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Chapter 6: Managing with Complexity, Uncertainty and Ambiguity

Keith Herrmann


Keith Herrmann It is well known that change is the signifier of the contemporary world. During the last twenty years a multitude of factors have combined to revolutionise the landscape of the global economy, resulting in a ‘new economy’ highly reliant on the exploitation of science, technology and knowledge. This globally interconnected economy has also seen the rise of emerging economies, e.g. the BRIC’s (Brazil, Russia, India and China), competing directly with the established economic order. The impact of globalisation is forcing many established economies to become increasingly dependent on the creativity and innovative energy of its entrepreneurs and is spawning a new form of industrial revolution (Leadbetter 1999; Kusum et al. 1999). These features of global change have exerted pressure on commercial organisations (businesses) to cope with the pervasive influence of lower-cost competitors, the increased provision of high-quality goods and services by emerging economies, and the accelerated obsolescence of current technologies. At an organisational level businesses have also had to deal with demands for change emerging from the processes of international deregulation, persistent advances in technology, and increased global competition emanating from a customer-driven market place. The impact of globalisation and the high rates of change in the market place have created conditions of trade which are unprecedented. Many small firms trading globally are having to cope constantly with the uncertainties and pressures of a globalised world in which the competitive advantage of firms is no longer dominated by lowest price, but are influenced by a...

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