SMEs in the Australian marine industry and organizational/growth characteristics: an application of the PROBB model of management/organization
This paper is based on the theoretical tool developed by Sanidas (2004, 2005, 2006), called the "process of the black box" (PROBB) and a survey of SMEs in the marine industry in Australia. The purpose of the PROBB is to scan the organizational, managerial, and growth characteristics of firms and industries in a holistic manner. Effectively, the PROBB takes into account all possible activities and operations of a given firm; the knowledge, strategies, movements, and rules (in the paper this will be expanded in a much deeper way than here).According to the PROBB theory, a questionnaire of about 200 questions was constructed, pre-tested, and finally applied to a sample of the marine industry in Australia. Face to face interviews took place and the response was very positive by the interviewed firms. Although the process of interviewing has not yet finished, we now have about 80 completed questionnaires; we expect to have at least 80 more completed in the next 3-4 months.The preliminary statistical analysis of the data is based on methods such as cluster, multi-dimensional scaling, factor analyses, and regression. Each one of these methods provides additional information, for example, to the following questions:"Are the four processes (the four PROBB) significant in explaining the a priori theoretical issues?"How are these four PROBB subdivided into smaller clusters and what are are their significance?"How are the four PROBB linked together? Is there a sequence of actions suggested by the data?"How do the PROBB explain growth and competition characteristics of the surveyed firms?"What suggestions and recommendations can we make in the light of all these findings?"And so onThe preliminary results are very encouraging. They confirm our theoretical expectations and suggest useful extensions that could be made only through empirical work based on the primary data of surveys. Once we have a sufficiently large number of data we could also apply other statistical methods such as structural equations modelling that could bring more light into the PROBB model.
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