Title

Entrepreneurship and small business: A strategic management front end analysis

Date of Award

1996

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Management

Advisor(s)

Philip L. Doughty

Keywords

management, business education

Subject Categories

Business

Abstract

A comparison of the supply of goods and services on entrepreneurship and small business (ESB) to the demands of customers was the focus of this exploratory investigation. The three stages of the strategic management front end analysis included as the sources of the supply both scanning the services environment and identifying exemplary goods (books). The demands were based on publicly available published ESB literature and a needs assessment. The results identified: the services on ESB, business activities essential for creating a venture, and books on ESB.

A CIPP goal free program evaluation investigated context and inputs of available educational services. The courses, consulting, or counseling services identified emphasized consulting, offered non-credit courses on startups, served a very small portion of the population, and generally were provided through government sponsored programs by unlicensed counselors-consultants. Identifying the very limited educational programs available, services they offered, and targeted audiences provided the basis for an alpha level needs assessment.

A needs assessment focused on identifying the essential activities for creating a business venture. Three hundred eighteen key informants participated in the 28 focus groups held in four metropolitan and four rural counties. The three sample groups participating in sessions included: business owners, business professionals, or community leaders. Special sessions were held for exporting, agribusiness, and high-technology firms, and for investors, bankers, accountants, and lawyers. When participant groups identified, rated, and ranked business activities, all three sample groups rated 95 of the 99 activities as essential. Owners rated highest activities related to internal business operations, while professionals and leaders emphasized external business activities. Owners expressed dissatisfaction with available services, while professionals said services were sufficient. Owners may lack business literacy and professionals providing services were often untrained in entrepreneurship and small business. Individuals with their own resources at stake (owners, investors, and bankers) requested improved supports, education, training, and resources.

The product evaluation of books on ESB described the publishing industry context, isolated a sample of exemplary print media inputs, and identified product evaluation attributes for books (electronic media or instructional episodes), e.g. assessment, outcomes, content, methods, sequence, example, practice, feedback, and message. The exemplary books located were introductory college textbooks authored by college professors, published by textbook publishers, and not available at community-based book stores or libraries.

The three exploratory investigations produced a description of the mismatch of demands for goods and services to the supply of goods and services, benchmark of business activities for starting businesses, list of exemplary ESB books, and checklist of product evaluation attributes. The findings may serve as the basis for entrepreneurship-owner business-management-executive education, professional interventions or program policies, and financial decisions related to cash flow operating costs. The recommendations include a model for entrepreneurship, job description, curricula, and model for a cash flow-business plan analysis audit.

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