Do strategic groups play a role in the SME financing process?

Graham Leask, Jonathan Scott, David Irwin

Research output: Preprint or Working paperWorking paper


This exploratory paper, developing a conceptual model of owner-manager characteristics and access to finance, aims to investigate whether the concept of strategic groups plays a role in the process of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) accessing finance. Strategic groups are groups of firms making similar patterns of investments in order to achieve their goals. This paper explores how strategic groups, which represent a classification of SMEs based upon their realised strategies, helps to provide an understanding of the success of SMEs in raising finance. The data, from a representative survey of 400 SMEs conducted by the Barclays Bank Telephone Research Unit, were subject to two-stage cluster analysis, thus codified into strategic groups using the natural rhythm of the data, rather than any subjective and value-laden categories being imposed by the authors. The findings show clear differentiation between strategic groups of SMEs, the characteristics of their owner-managers, and the financing strategies adopted. As such, the paper develops a novel typology of strategic groups of SMEs which, therefore, informs their financing strategies, as well as advising other stakeholders.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBirmingham (UK)
PublisherAston University
ISBN (Print)978-1-85449-764-2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009

Publication series

NameAston Business School research papers
PublisherAston University


  • finance
  • strategy
  • SMEs
  • strategic groups
  • process
  • gender
  • firm growth


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