27th Annual SEAANZ Conference Papers

Conference papers

(ISBN: 978-0-9924200-1-7)

Conference Chair and Editor: Associate Professor Bernice Kotey, UNE Business School, University of New England.

Theme: Government and other support for SMEs

Expanding a franchise system across international borders: What your legal counsel should be doing for you

Courtenay Atwell (University of New South Wales)

This study advocates the significance of legal professionals and their role in acting as enablers for foreign franchise relationships that aid in overcoming the expeditious and short-term environment of international commerce and guide their clients to an enduring and harmonious existence with a foreign franchisee in an alien jurisdiction. The essential functions of the role are identified and consideration is aimed not only at the traditional legal elements of the transaction but also at a series of supplementary concerns including the political and economic situation, domestic regulation and dispute resolution eccentricities. It is further conceived that the franchise lawyer will endeavour to keep the model abreast of the globalisation in international law through establishing self-executing contracts and as such their role will evolve to include both legal and quasi-legal capacities in an effort to provide, what this author terms, as a ‘one-stop-legal-shop’. Download presentation>>>

Satu Atap or Satu Pintu? Small business start-ups, one-stop shops and regulatory reform in Indonesia

Wahyu Sutiyono (University of Canberra) and Michael Schaper (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission)

Although it is the largest neighbour of both Australia and New Zealand, relatively little is known in the local small business research community about the status and issues confronting micro and small-sized enterprises in Indonesia. There are more than 56 million micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) operating in Indonesia. More than a million new firms commence trading each year, but the country continues to rank quite poorly on global comparisons about the ease of business formation. This paper discusses some of the attempts by government to reduce both the number and cost of registration steps in recent years, with a special focus on reforms in Jakarta. A key tool has been the development of so-called one-stop shops, with either a satu atap (one roof) or satu pintu (one door) approach. In a nation with highly devolved political and administrative structures, though, successfully implementing these reforms can be difficult.

Business advice by accountants to SMEs: Relationship and trust

Robert Blackburn (Kingston University), Peter Carney and George Tanewski (Deakin University)

Accountants are the most frequently used source of business advice by SMEs. Yet there is little theoretical understanding of this relationship. In this paper we investigate the influence of relationships and trust on decisions by SMEs to purchase non-compliance advice from their external accountants, drawing upon Mayer, Davis and Schoorman’s (1995) model of trust. In-depth interviews with accountants and SME owner-managers support the proposition that relationships and trust are necessary conditions for enabling latent business advice demand. Integrity and empathy are two dimensions of trust, and both qualities appear fundamental to the accountant’s ability to retain SME clients. But they do not directly influence SME decisions to purchase subsequent business advice. The analysis shows it is the specific competence of the external accountant that directly influences the SME’s business-advice purchase decision. SME managers and principals with less trusting natures require accountants to clearly demonstrate their competence, usually following a significant business challenge, before business advice is sought. SME owner-managers with more trusting natures are more open to buying business advice, but the market is competitive. Overall, the a priori assumption that an already established relationship developed through compliance services will lead an SME to buy business advice is not supported.

Self-employment or entrepreneurship: What's in a name? (Perhaps a lot)

Tui McKeown (Monash University) and Ken Phillips (Independent Contractors Australia)

Increasing demands for innovation and flexibility are resulting in new ways of work which present ongoing challenges to organisations seeking to compete in the globally competitive markets of the twenty first century. The challenges of this global marketplace are also providing increasingly blurred boundaries between employment and self-employment, small business and entrepreneurship. The purpose of this paper is to explore this blurring of boundaries through a specific focus on the most-commonly used terms. We use this examination to reveal the importance these terms have as labels which then are either understood – or more commonly, misunderstood. More importantly, we suggest that the way in which these terms are used have important implications and consequences for Government interest and support of the individual operating as a “business of one”.

Teaching old dogs new tricks: Competition law and SMEs in Malaysia

Rachel Melissa Burgess (Amicitia Sdn Bhd)

This paper considers the challenges faced by the Malaysian Competition Commission (MyCC) in seeking to ensure compliance with the Competition Act 2010 by Malaysia’s small and medium sized businesses.  The early cases considered by the MyCC are used as case studies to illustrate the approach taken to enforcement against SMEs.  In many cases, industry associations have been responsible for SMEs failing to comply with the law. A comparison is made to the approach taken to SMEs in the early years of enforcement in Singapore and the more established and experienced regime in Australia. Finally, the paper asks what more can be done to help SMEs in Malaysia.

Cooling off periods in franchise contracts: The transition from a consumer protection mechanism to paternalistic remedy for behavioural biases

Courtenay Atwell (University of New South Wales)

This research chronicles the evolution of cooling off periods in franchising contracts from a fruitless consumer protection remedy to a penetrating behavioural science perception of the decision making dynamics applicable in electing to become a franchisee. The transition to a paternalistic view, integrating behavioural science insights, of the cooling off period suggests that where choice to become a franchisee is not welfare enhancing, legislation makers have imposed restrictions on a prospective franchisees ability to choose negligently. It is concluded that the inherent organizational problems cooling off periods were expected to resolve have been more effectively addressed through the concurrent institution of the disclosure document and compulsory advisory provisions. This has not symbolized the inefficiency of the cooling off remedy, but rather indicated the demand to realign understandings of its merit from quantitative based consumer protection metrics to qualitative insights offered by paternalistic policies to identify individual decision making biases.

Australian indigenous NFP organisation accounting complexities

Robyn Dyt (Monash University)

This paper explores the area of accounting recording and reporting within Australian Indigenous Not-For-Profit (AINFP) organisations including the use of computerisation. AINFP organisations are required to produce annual accounting reports which are typically designed to meet government accountability requirements applying mainstream accounting terminology. This present study reports on the findings of six semi-structured interviews involving eight individuals whom have direct relationships with AINFP organisations. This study explores the nature of AINFP organisations accounting systems and their role in decision making. Indigenous Australians ability to understand accounting language is considered together with possible adaptions. Organisations reflected a willingness to adopt and adapt new technology and this willingness should be encouraged and funded. This will assist AINFP organisations provide economic participation on a project by project basis. Download presentation>>>

Theme: SME Management

CSR activities and practices in small and medium-sized accountancy firms in Australia and Malaysia

Sujana Adapa (University of New England)

Research into the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) relating to large corporate and multinational organisations has gained momentum in recent years. However, there has been a lack of attention in the existing literature in relation to the extent of the application of CSR practices and activities in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs). There is also an assumption that SMEs do not engage in any sort of CSR-based activities due to the size of their businesses. This study presents findings from an Australian and Malaysian perspective by collecting data from 34 qualitative in-depth interviews from practicing accountants in Sydney and in Kuala Lumpur. Results indicated that the extent of adoption of CSR activities and stakeholder identification varied across four firm structures defined as micro-sized, family-owned, small-sized and medium sized accountancy firms. Download presentation>>>

Theme: Online marketing, social media, exporting and globalisation strategies for small firms

From e-CRM to s-CRM: critical factors underpinning the social CRM activities of SMEs

Paul Harrigan (University of Western Australia) and Morgan Miles(University of Tasmania)

This paper builds on previous research that investigated the critical factors underpinning the e-CRM activities of SMEs. However, marketing practice has moved on from the ‘e’ in e-CRM. Today, the disruptive technologies in CRM are social media. This is particularly true for SMEs, where social media are free tools that can be used to foster engagement between organisation and consumer, and thus social CRM (s-CRM). An online survey was completed by156 SMEs, and exploratory factor analysis uncovered seven factors underpinning their s-CRM activities. Findings illustrate the importance of a customer relationship orientation, uncover support and data issues around social media use, promote the importance of customer engagement in online communities, and recognise the driving role of information processes. This study contributes to theory by measuring s-CRM in SMEs through a dynamic capabilities lens. For SME owner-managers, it emphasises the need to strategically combine social media use with CRM activities.

Digital networks - an essential element for independent professionals' business success

Tui McKeown and Robyn Cochrane (Monash University)

While networks are important to the success of any organisation, they can be literally vital for the survival and prosperity of small to medium enterprises (SMEs). At the nano end of the SME spectrum, digital networks may not only make size irrelevant but also provide formal and informal channels to access to a variety of resources. While there is an established literature examining such networks from the organisational perspective, knowledge is limited at the nano-business end of the independent professional (IPro). This study examines the external networks used by 375 Australian IPros to see how, what and why they use networks to source work. The findings show: IPros use offline and online interpersonal and offline and online inter-organisational networks to update skills and source work. These findings highlight the importance of networks to the success of nano-businesses in Australia and have implications for policy and practice.

Effectuation and internationalisation: Evidence from the Australian food and beverage sector

Miria Lazaris (Monash University)

Effectuation theory is beginning to be accepted as not only a useful theory for understanding the internationalisation of SMEs but one which enhances our understanding as to the complexity and consequences of such decisions. This paper adds to this emerging understanding by presenting a single case-study which provides evidence of effectuation during the initial internationalisation from the Australian food and beverage sector.  Four principles of effectuation logic were identified: (1) focus on short term experiments to identify international business opportunities; (2) focus on projects where the loss from internationalization in a worst-case scenario is affordable, (3) emphasis on pre-commitments and alliances, and (4) flexibility to control unpredictability.  This paper contributes to the emerging research and illustrates how effectuation logic, as evidenced by the above-mentioned principles, enables small, resource-poor firms overcome challenges relating to a small domestic market, niche product offerings, and a consolidated retail sector.  Effectuation theory provides a useful framework for understanding internationalization and the restrictions faced by new firms lacking the ability to carefully plan an internationalisation strategy as suggested by traditional causation models. When founders of firms in such markets lack previous international experience and knowledge, initial internationalisation can be a reactive approach, whereby the firm experiments with international market opportunities (presented to them by their perpetually evolving network), that are affordable in terms of the potential losses (evidenced in part by low risk modes of entry), and which support pre-commitments, and flexibility.

How "born global" SMEs are born: Small emergent country cases

Tonis Mets (Queensland University of Technology)

Technology start-ups able to globalize from inception in the literature are called “born global” (BG) companies. The paper aims to study the internationalization trajectories of BGs in the developing entrepreneurial ecosystem framework of the emerging knowledge economy.  We suppose that value system and networks of BGs are the part of general entrepreneurial ecosystem and the factors leading to early internationalization are new market conditions, technological advantages and entrepreneurial learning. The three case studies demonstrate the different globalization trajectories of start-ups depending on the maturity of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. For the conclusion has been proposed that shortening of start-up period, growing number of success stories and growing intensity of start-up creation indicate the maturity of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

A research framework for the adoption of business intelligence by small and medium-sized enterprises

Boonsiritomachai Waranpong, Michael McGrath and Stephen Burgess (Victoria University)

Due to the complexities of making effective and timely business decisions in highly competitive markets, Data-driven decision-making using Business Intelligence (BI) applications has attracted many organisations worldwide. However, despite these applications being suited for use in most organisations regardless of size, only the larger enterprises have reached a stage of maturity in BI use while small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) still lag behind. Whilst many academic researchers have conducted BI research focused on large organisations, literature relating to BI adoption within SMEs has remained limited. To fill this research gap and support the adoption rate of BI in SMEs, this paper proposes a research framework for identifying the current state of BI adoption by SMEs and the enabling factors that impact BI adoption in SMEs. Future research directions for using this framework are also discussed. Download presentation>>>

Theme: Innovation, entrepreneurship and planning

Valuing innovation in SMEs: towards a theory of entrepreneurial innovation value

Peter Malone, Tim Mazzarol (University of Western Australia), andSophie Reboud (Groupe ESC Dijon Bourgogne)

Entrepreneurship and small business management are relatively new fields of academic research. Despite significant growth over recent decades (Shane, 1997; Shane & Venkataraman, 2000; Shane, 2012), more work remains to be done, particularly in the development of theory relating to the actual behaviour of small entrepreneurial firms (Tan et al. 2009). This paper brings together concepts developed in earlier research and extends the understanding on valuing innovation. Strategic management theories have seen significant application to large enterprises and firms historically while SMEs are not covered to the same extent. Recent theory including resource-based view (RBV), dynamic capabilities and theories of entrepreneurship have opened new opportunities for research in small to medium enterprises (SMEs). The paper focuses on the concept of entrepreneurial ‘rent’ and brings in theories of effectuation, bricolage and the concept of lean start up to discuss innovation value recognition, creation and exploitation. Download presentation>>>

Ecopreneur typologies: an ecopreneurs' experience of changing approach following a natural disaster

Jodyanne Kirkwood, Kirsty Dwyer and Sara Walton (University of Otago)

This paper observes the experiences of an ecopreneur who was operating before, during, and after an extreme event – the 2010-2011 series of earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand. The aim is to examine an ecopreneurial business and its owner prior to and after these earthquakes.  It explores the tension existing between the ecopreneurs’ green values/ethics and running a business during this time and seeks to understand how his resilience as an ecopreneur has been tested after the earthquakes. The data is gathered from a longitudinal case study of Just Organic Ltd (an organic fruit and vegetable delivery service) over a five year period. Results indicate that an extreme event such as an earthquake inhibits the green values of an ecopreneur as they aim for business survival. To prosper in such circumstances requires a resilient nature that adapts to run in a more entrepreneurial fashion. Download presentation>>>

Lessons learned from an inside-out flip in entrepreneurship education

Martin Bliemel (University of New South Wales)

This paper summarizes the benefits and challenges of flipping an entrepreneurship course in two ways. The conventional flip changes how lecturers and students relate to the course content by primarily affecting when and where they learn, but not necessarily how. Flipping the classroom inside-out grounds the lessons learned in the ‘real world’ by bringing in guests to help run workshops in the classroom, and by getting students to validate their business ideas outside the classroom. This inside-out flip involves additional logistical challenges. However, it appears to be a better fit with the overarching set of attributes that graduates are expected to attain, and the assessment thereof. Download presentation>>>

SME planning responses to uncertain environments - case studies from the Singapore automotive industry

Clive Choo (Nanyang Technological University), Tim Mazzarol(University of Western Australia) and Sophie Reboud (Group ESC Dijon Bourgogne)

This study examines the role played by risk perception (RP) and entrepreneurial orientation (EO) in influencing the strategic planning and decision making of SME owner-managers within uncertain environments. In addition, the study builds on and provides support for the SME planning response typology originally proposed by Mazzarol and Reboud (2009).  The study was undertaken with SME cases from the Singapore automotive sector that were examined in relation to their strategic decision making in response to changes to their task environment over the time period 2008 to 2013.The methodologies employed within this study comprised a pilot study using three case studies, nine multiple case studies and a critical incident technique (CIT).To increase the reliability and validity of the study, moderated EO and RP scales were utilized and recommendations by Yin (2014) were adopted such as the use of chain of evidence and the investigations into rival theories. Download presentation>>>

A framework for improving innovation capability of SMEs to enhance competitiveness in the digital economy

Nissanka Janaratne (THIRD Dimension Consulting)

SMEs have the opportunity grow two to three times faster when they embrace the digital economy.  Yet, they face the pressure to continually innovate with the changes to the fundamentals of business operations from digital economy placing their performance more and more dependent on their innovation capability. However, SMEs are faced with the challenge of selecting an affordable framework that can be implemented successfully in a small and medium business environment.  The study has focused on developing a framework suitable for SMEs to improve innovation capability to address shorter product life cycles and erosion of market boundaries that have resulted from the changes to the fundamentals of business operations in the digital economy. The proposed framework uses innovation pipeline as a leading measure to identify the gap in innovation performance resulting from the current state of innovation capability proactively so that SMEs can enhance their competitiveness in the digital economy. Download presentation>>>

Could business planning help small business enterprises (SBEs) and micro firms in a rapidly globalising digital environment?

Sukh Deo (Waikato Institute of Technology)

This study looks at business planning as a strategy that SBEs could use to perform better in a globalising digital environment. Small owner/operators need to become more innovative and entrepreneurial now than ever before. The study briefly looks at the impact of globalisation on smaller firms. A qualitative approach using extensive literature search and a case study approach are used in this study. Findings indicate that SBEs had knowledge gaps, managerial, technology and resource constraints which precluded them from using the new approaches needed for success in a rapidly globalising digital environment. The impact of business planning on the performance of small firms has been debated for decades. This debate is not resolved yet. There is some agreement that business planning had positive impact on the performance of smaller firms. However, more research is needed to confirm this claim. Download presentation>>>

Firm's age and what it takes to succeed in cross border trade

Sheperd Dhliwayo (University of Johannesburg)

Cross border trade (CBT) is run in most cases by small micro to medium enterprises. The trade tends to be limited to nearby countries although in some cases it has a global outreach. CBT’s economic importance is usually understated and at times misunderstood. As a result factors needed to ensure its success are not always adequately explored and appropriately addressed. The aim of the study was to find out if the importance of the different factors required to succeed in CBT differed with the age of the firm (period in CBT). Data was collected through a self-administered questionnaire from, one hundred and twenty two (122) randomly chosen cross border traders in South Africa. Results show that, the importance of the different factors needed to succeed in CBT change with the age of a firm. It is therefore recommended that appropriate interventions be made taking age of firm into account.