This thesis examines the strategy formulation of small and medium enterprises in Greece by measuring the two principal dimensions of the strategy formulation process, the normative/descriptive dimension and the individual/collective dimension. For the purposes of the thesis a theoretical model of strategy formulation is proposed and evaluated, drawing upon the principles of contingency theory which presumes that there is no exclusive approach to strategy formulation which applies likewise to all firms in all circumstances. According to contingency theory there are many variables or factors which predict and influence the decision of formulating a strategy.
Furthermore, the thesis investigates the role of accounting information on the process of strategy formulation by examining the relationship between the adoption of a specific strategy formulation approach and the information sources that SMEs use, the extensiveness of accounting information usage and the perceived usefulness of accounting information to SME managers. Using a data-triangulation (semi-structured interviews and a questionnaire), the findings of the study show the following:
First, organizational size, perceived environmental volatility, the level of technology and specific owner manager characteristics (experience and education) are all significant predictors of SMEs adoption of a specific strategy formulation approach. Second, accounting information usage is positively associated with the normative and collective strategy formulation approaches. More specific, SMEs which utilize a broad range of information sources, which engage in extensive accounting information utilization and which perceive accounting information as very useful are positively correlated with the normative and collective approaches of strategy formulation.
Third, financial performance was found to have a positive relationship with the descriptive and individualistic approach to strategy, meaning that SME owner managers who
employ emergent strategies without the collaboration and participation of others in the process tend to achieve higher levels of profitability. Fourth, significant differences were found between SMEs having a different ownership status (family and non-family SMEs) and belonging to different business sectors (retail, construction and service providing firms) in relation to strategy formulation approach.