PhD research project: Helping SMEs improve their business performance

24 January 2019

Warwick Business School PhD student Amir Ziaei is working on a research project to help growing small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) improve their business performance, and contribute to debates within academia about how to create the necessary tools to support these organisations. Participant companies are being sought and will benefit from a full performance evaluation report.

My project aims to enable us to better understand the issues faced by SMEs when utilising managerial processes such as performance measurement (PM). PM is important to the growth of SMEs and while many SMEs can run themselves quite comfortably without much formal measurement, for growing businesses the control these processes offer can be indispensable. Knowing how the different areas of one’s business are performing is valuable information, but a good measurement process will also let companies examine the triggers for any changes in performance. Ultimately “What you measure is what you get” and effective utilisation of PM will put businesses in a better position to manage performance proactively.

As a result of my research, participant companies will be provided with a more comprehensive understanding of the balance (formal and informal) of their use of PM, and will receive a performance evaluation report, providing suggestions on how to improve communication of targets, align day-to-day operations with strategy, prioritise projects (products or services), and most importantly, measure and monitor progress towards targets.

Using the provided information, managers of participating SMEs can initiate performance-based conversations with staff and create targeted staff development. Additionally, you can identify under-performing stages and eliminate relevant issues. A better understanding of the balanced use of PM should help companies to proactively and efficiently manage performance without the need for complex, expensive, and time-consuming procedures.

Participation can involve a small commitment of time. Any commitment would be extremely valuable and would help shape a better understanding of growing SMEs and the vital tools for their survival.

If you are an SME and are interested in participating in my research project, please get in touch.

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