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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 9: Competitive Intelligence and the Global SME

Jonathan Calof and Paul Dishman


Jonathan Calof and Paul Dishman Introduction Making better decisions is at the heart of business intelligence. Think of intelligence as a decision support system that focuses the entire organization on scanning its current and future environment. Business intelligence has emerged as a tool for small and large businesses alike. Used properly, it has the potential greatly to assist companies in formulating and implementing better international business decisions. The objective of this chapter is to describe what competitive intelligence is and how it can be best used by small businesses. It is built on an article written in SCIP Online (Calof, 2003) and a working paper laying out the theory of competitive intelligence (Calof and Dishman, 2002). One small note, the word business intelligence (BI) and competitive intelligence (CI) will be used interchangeably throughout, as to this chapter’s authors they fundamentally mean the same thing. The chapter starts with a general discussion of what intelligence is and then describes the role of intelligence in small businesses; it ends with advice on what small businesses can do to implement intelligence systems better. Perhaps the biggest challenge to small business arising from this chapter is that they must recognize that if they are competing against large multinational firms then there is a good chance that their competition is already engaged in intelligence activities. As a result, intelligence is becoming perhaps a necessary activity for all companies whether large or small. This chapter addresses three questions: 1. 2. 3. What is competitive/business intelligence? Do...

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