Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Geography


This research focusses on the behaviour of small and medium scale firms in Metropolitan Colombo, Sri Lanka. It argues that the more recent emphasis on organisational structure offers an appropriate conceptual and methodological frame for studying the locational behaviour of small manufacturing firms in Sri Lanka.

In firms in developing countries family ownership,small size, labour intensive technologies and lack of organisation are main characteristics of small and medium scale industries. However, it has been recognised that there exist fundamental structural differences among the firms in this sector in Sri Lanka. Small and medium scale industrial sector consisting of so-called registered and unregistered firms, different structural features reflect differences in size, capital investment, ownership pattern, family participation, raw material utilisation, export orientation and the relationships with government organisations. These structural differences go some considerable way towards explaining the behaviour of small and medium scale manufacturing firms in Colombo, and the general hypothesis is that the nature of the interactions of small enterprises depend upon their internal organisational structure.

The study focussed on three types of industries (textile, rubber and metal) in identifying the organisational structure of firms and in analysing the relationships between organisational structure and functional linkages, attitudes of entrepreneurs, patterns and degree of locational adjustments and the different responses of small firms to change in government policy. The study uses a sample of I36 firms and data and information were based on a questionnaire survey and extensive fieldwork in Sri Lanka, conducted during the period from January to July, 1984.

Principal components analysis has been used to define the structure of firms and to identify the significant characteristics of industries. The extent to which the organisational structure of firms is reflected in their behaviour was investigated by means of correlation and stepwise multiple regression analyses. The study also recognises the importance of government policies which are important in terms of spatial pattern and structure of small and medium scale industries in Colombo and the way in which industries have perceived these policies and responded to them.

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