Why research sustainable growth?

Of central debate amongst academics, business leaders and policy makers are the factors that define the sustainable economic growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). We all still have much to learn about the practices that SMEs use to improve and grow. In order to address this knowledge gap, BIG is working in association with a number of research intensive institutions around the world on the Promoting Sustainable Performance™ (PSP) programme of research.

A plethora of approaches have been used to measure organisational growth and performance, often comparing businesses within the same industry and benchmarking against market leaders. What many of these methods have in common is their limited depth. Research often relies on quantitative data, takes a silo’d approach to knowledge, progresses with limited academic rigour, and fails to appreciate the importance of context, depth and nuance.

PSP seeks to address these deficiencies by providing an impartial perspective of SME growth for informed decision making by academics, business leaders and policy makers; an approach that seeks to increase the competitiveness of economies across the world.

PSP applies a holistic research model to capture the process of growth of PSP_logoSMEs. PSP achieves this by drawing on a multi-disciplinary team of expert researchers from a wide range of disciplines to investigate SME growth from the perspective of: competitive strategy; innovation, internationalisation; value chain management; human resource management and development; and, operations, to name but a few!

PSP seeks to question and challenge the way we measure and capture the factors that define the growth of SMEs by applying a mixed method, integrating qualitative data collection and analysis methods with the traditional purely quantitative approach, on a longitudinal basis.

Bridging the gap between academia and industry

BIG supports the PSP research program by promoting the transfer and exchange of knowledge between academia and industry. Support provided by BIG helps to develop the PSP research model and translate insights from the research into tools and programmes that are accessible, applicable and practical. Business leaders are provided with the methods to improve their performance through leading institutions in their region who want to make a real difference at a local level.

“When we were originally approached for the PSP project we could not have anticipated the profound impact it would have on our business. From the first conversation we were encouraged to reflect on what we were doing. The opportunity to take part in events and learn from the experiences of similar businesses was invaluable. Anyone who is looking to move forward should grab the opportunity to take part with both hands”
~ Dan Dickey, CEO, Art projects for Schools and PSP research participant

Achievements to date and future aspirations

BIG is presently supporting Birmingham City Business School (University of Birmingham) and Kent Business School (University of Kent) in the UK, and the Haskayne School of Business (University of Calgary) in Canada to translate world class research insights into locally relevant business interventions and policy insights. PSP is continuing to expand globally and is actively seeking to support other institutional partners that deem SME growth and performance as a core element of their strategy. Get in touch!