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Miles and Snow Essay

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MILES AND SNOW'S STRATEGY MODEL IN THE CONTEXT OF SMALL FIRMS
Fernando A. P. Gimenez

Abstract The literature on strategy has focused a great deal of attention in the quest for a taxonomy of generic strategies (Hatten & Schendel, 1977; Herbert & Deresky, 1987; and Miller & Dess, 1993). A generic strategy can be seen as a broad categorisation of strategic choices with ample applicability across industries and organisational forms (Herbert & Deresky, 1987). On this study, the model proposed by Miles and Snow (1978) was adopted to describe small firms' competitive strategies. Miles and Snow have produced a typology of competitive strategies. Miles and Snow proposed that firms in general develop relatively stable patterns of strategic behaviour in order to accomplish a good alignment with perceived environmental conditions. Their typology involves four strategic types: defenders, prospectors, analysers and reactors. Data were collected with a sample of 150 Brazilian small firms' ownermanagers using a questionnaire adapted from Conant, Mokwa and Varadarajan (1990). Competitive strategies identified in this study gave additional evidence in support of Miles and Snow's model of existence of four types of generic strategies in a competitive environment composed mainly of small firms. Introduction The literature focusing on small firms has increased substantially in the last three decades. Most reported research has dealt with problems and difficulties faced by owners of small businesses, as well as with the advantages and positive traits linked with this type of organisation (Scase & Goffee, 1989; Stanworth & Gray, 1991). Strategy formulation and strategic planning in small enterprises has been a topic of quite a large number of studies. Robinson and Pearce (1984), for instance, presented a classification including four research thrusts on small firm strategic planning, namely: (i) Strategic Planning Practices which included papers focusing on the nature of the...

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