The thesis examines the competencies that enable business survival in changing business environments from the perspective of Russian and Finnish micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises in the field of forest industry. Additionally, it studies the competence transformation necessary in SMEs for successful continuation of business operations when a firm considers transferring its business to another industry. The dissertation builds a holistic firm-level view of survival competencies for SMEs facing changes in their business environments. The holistic firm-level view of competencies includes both the individual-level and the firm-level perspectives, regardless of the position of the person in a firm.
The findings highlight the importance of high-level individual competencies and the ability to perform versatile tasks in a firm. In addition, continuous business environment scanning, self-evaluation of personal competencies, willingness to renew and change, open-mindedness, and a readiness to network, are competencies that belong to and need to be taken care of by everybody – employees and employers - in a firm. In addition to previous competencies, an ability to manage every-day business also needs to be embedded in SME owners/managers. Furthermore, Russian SMEs seem to be more proactive in change situations, when compared with Finnish SMEs, which are used to operate in a more stable business environment. In conclusion, it can be said that the thesis adds to SME literature by introducing the concept of ‘SME-level competencies’, a combination of previously discussed organisational and networking competencies which are needed in order to survive through change. Furthermore, the thesis concludes with new competence classifications, such as operational and change competencies, which offer new information concerning the required competencies by which a firm may reduce the resistance to change that can hinder business renewal.
For SME practitioners, the study suggests proper preparation and proactive operations in their business to reduce the influence of endless changes, and reminds SME owners/managers that changes are, however, a significant source of new business opportunities. For educational players, the study suggests upgrading educational and training systems by improving the training as regards attitudes towards work, and especially training in the comprehensive working abilities needed in SMEs to master diverse tasks. Finally, for public actors the study suggests providing stronger support to entrepreneurs by boosting SMEs entrepreneurial conditions and the existing business possibilities in change situations. This can be done by encouraging a legislative and entrepreneurial climate that responds better to the demands of SMEs.
|Publication status||Published - 2015|
|MoE publication type||G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)|
- forest industry