Entrepreneurial competencies and the performance of small and medium enterprises in the Hong Kong services sector

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Entrepreneurial competencies and the performance of small and medium enterprises in the Hong Kong services sector


Author: Man, Wing-yan Thomas
Title: Entrepreneurial competencies and the performance of small and medium enterprises in the Hong Kong services sector
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2001
Subject: Small business -- China -- Hong Kong
Entrepreneurship -- China -- Hong Kong
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Management
Pages: xii, 346 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b1599550
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/3023
Abstract: The aim of this study is to address the needs for research in the relationship between the entrepreneurial characteristics and the performance of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) under the context of the services sector in Hong Kong. Based on the literature review, a theoretical model of SME competitiveness relating entrepreneurial characteristics studied from a competency approach to the long-term performance of SMEs has been developed. Also from the literature, six areas of entrepreneurial competencies were identified, including opportunity, relationship, conceptual, organising, strategic, and commitment competencies. Hypotheses were developed along with the respective entrepreneurial competencies required to carry out the three principal entrepreneurial tasks. These entrepreneurial tasks include: 1) forming the firm's competitive scope, 2) creating the organisational capabilities, and 3) setting goals and taking actions for the goals. A mixed method sequential approach was adopted in this study. With reference of the theoretical model, a qualitative analysis was first conducted to identify entrepreneurial competencies in a sample of 19 successful owner/managers in the Hong Kong services sector. By using a threefold interviewing strategy, the behaviours reflecting competencies, the behaviours reflecting incompetence, and the entrepreneur's self-perceived competencies were identified. This threefold strategy has allowed the identification of additional competencies as well as provided an additional evidence of validity for some competencies which were reported in more than one analyses. As a result of identifying new competencies from the qualitative analysis, the original theoretical model was also modified. Moreover, the competencies identified in the qualitative analysis were incorporated in the development of an instrument for measuring entrepreneurial competencies in the subsequent quantitative stage. Having been content validated, combined with measures of other constructs, and pilot tested, the resulting version of this instrument was used in a questionnaire survey of SME owner/managers in two industries of the services sector, namely, wholesale trade and information technology services. In a sample of 153 SME owner/managers, statistical analyses were conducted on the sample characteristics, on the major dependent and independent variables, and on the comparisons between the two industry sub-samples. Hypothesis testing on the relationships prescribed along the entrepreneurial tasks was also conducted. The results have provided us a better understanding on the SMEs' owner/managers in the services sector, their entrepreneurial competencies, their firms, and the competitive environment faced by them. More importantly, the results have demonstrated supportive evidence for the hypotheses based on the theoretical model of SME competitiveness, which provides an explanation on how the entrepreneurial competencies can affect the performance of an SME. The crucial role of the entrepreneur in determining the performance of an SME is therefore supported. This study also contributes to the development of a unified survey instrument for measuring entrepreneurial competencies based of the entrepreneurial behaviours, and it provides a source of reference for training and developing of the entrepreneurs with the identifications of competencies exhibited and required by them. Further studies can be conducted on the comparative studies of entrepreneurial competencies, the use of structural equation modelling in testing the theoretical model, and the development of a typology of the entrepreneurs based on their competencies.

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