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Les membres de Coactis communiquent à RENT

Les membres de Coactis étaient présents au Congrès International RENT (Research in Entrepreneurship and Small Business) qui s’est tenu à Vilnius en Lituanie les 21 et 22 novembre 2013.

3 communications ont été présentées :

Ambroise L., Claveau N, Perez M., Prim-Allaz I., Séville M. & Teyssier C (2013), Firm’s growth profiles and CEO’s Attitudes : the moderating role of growth intention on firm’s growth, RENT Research in Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Vilnius, Novembre.

Bérard C.,Szostak B. & Abdesselam R. (2013), The relationship between corporate social responsibility and innovation activities in SMEs: an empirical study of French firms, RENT Research in Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Vilnius, Novembre.

Gautier A., Berger-Douce S., Brodhag C. (2013), CSR, a source of Creating Shared Value in SMEs?, RENT Research in Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Vilnius, Novembre.

Bérard BergerDouce Prim

Firm’s growth profiles and CEO’s attitudes : the moderating role of growth intention on firm’s growth?

Laure AMBROISE, Nathalie CLAVEAU, Muriel PEREZ, Isabelle PRIM ALLAZ, Martine SEVILLE, Christine TEYSSIER

COACTIS Research Center (EA 4161) – Lyon 2 and Saint-Etienne Universities – France

The question of SME growth has been a concern of scholars, managers, practitioners and governments for a long time. The reality of growth appears to be multi-dimensional (Davidsson and Wiklund, 2006) and its determinants measurements, especially in small businesses, have always presented a significant challenge for researchers. Hindering growth requires a good knowledge of the causes, the effects and the processes of development. Current studies on the firm’s growth suggest that it is fundamental to develop integrative and comprehensive approaches of growth. More precisely, research on business growth tend to focus on entrepreneurial orientation, environmental characteristics, firm’s resources and manager’s personal attitudes towards growth (Wiklund and al., 2009). It also points out a need to study the influence of entrepreneurial decision making and entrepreneurial growth intention on the business growth (Achtenhagen and al., 2010).

This research is an attempt to make some progress in the understanding of the SME’s growth by using an integrative model of influences that allows envisaging the simultaneous influences of the firm’s growth profiles (the firm’s affiliation to one of the growth paths obtained in a statistical typology) and the CEO’s behavior on the growth rate (in terms of variation of sales in 2009-2010). The aim of this research model is then to question the factors or contingency of the SME’s growth: factors of inertia or factors of impulse.

After the presentation of our literature review, we present the empirical part of the work. A typology of SMEs growth paths, based on a large sample of firms (17 000), is presented: six groups, composed by firms that have experienced differentiated growth trajectories over a period of eight years, are identified. Then a sizable survey among 427 French SME CEOs is set up to access qualitatively the strategic orientations of CEOs (their perception of the market growth; their strategic objectives; their attitudes toward growth; their abilities (self-capabilities) to manage their firm. CEOs growth intentions (at 1 and 3 years) are introduced as moderating variables. Structural equation modeling analyses are conducted.

Results highlight the influence of the various determinants of SME’s growth. They confirm the idea that small business managers can choose many different ways to achieve growth and that the goals of growing are interdependent with other strategic objectives (Delmar and Wiklund, 2008). Regarding growth experience, the results underline that, even if growth deserves to be considered as crucial for SMEs, it should not be taken for granted. CEOs’ perceptions and attitudes have more influence on SME’s growth rate when CEOs have low short or mid-term intention to develop. Besides, the analyses show the interest of a focus on managers’ growth intention to study the SMEs growth process (Sadler-Smith and al., 2003; Janssen, 2006; Wiklund and al., 2009). The five selected variables chosen to explain firm growth are relevant. But their relevance depends on the moderating variable “growth intention” that emphasizes the extent to which a manager articulates growth as an objective, as well as its commitment to the execution of an ongoing growth strategy (Barringer and al., 2005) or the entrepreneur’s goals or aspirations for its firm growth trajectory (Dutta and Thornhill, 2008). Indeed, CEO’s strategic styles have a significant and positive impact on the future growth rate. Finally, CEO’s growth vision has a notable impact only in the short term for CEOs who have a low intention to grow. Regarding CEO’s market growth previsions, it has obviously a significant and important influence of SME’s growth rate.

The relationship between corporate social responsibility and activities of exploration and exploitation in SMEs: An empirical study of French firms


COACTIS Research Center (EA 4161) – Lyon 2 University – France

A growing body of research has addressed the relationship between CSR and innovation. However, research on this relationship is still at an embryonic stage, and there is a need to further analyze the complex relationship within the specific context of SMEs, especially since innovation is seen as key to their survival and success. This paper proposes to address this gap in small business literature by studying the relationship between CSR practices and exploration and exploitation. It raises the following question: are SMEs that explore and exploit differently distinguished by the extent of their adoption of CSR practices?

The literature has suggested that exploitation may be positively related to incremental innovation performance, and exploration positively related to radical innovation performance (Atuahene-Gima 2005). In fact, radical and incremental innovations can be viewed as outputs of exploration and exploitation respectively (Bierly and Daly 2007). And yet, some authors have suggested that firms that adopt a CSR strategy may introduce innovations that are more incremental than radical (López-Pérez, Perez-Lopez, and Rodriguez-Ariza 2007). Thus, one may suggest that firms with different CSR practices explore and exploit differently: SMEs that intensively adopt CSR practices may focus more on exploitation than on exploration. Moreover, a study of Berger-Douce (2011) proposed that sustainable development reinforces the dynamic capacity of innovation in SMEs, that is, the capacity to reconcile explorative and exploitative innovations. Thus, one may suggest that SMEs that intensively adopt CSR practices may focus on both exploitation and exploration.

A questionnaire was administered to CEOs of firms in the French region Rhône-Alpes. Our final sample includes 488 SMEs located in this region. Statistical analyzes based on a methodological chain of data analysis methods are used to identify homogeneous groups of SMEs with respect to their activities of exploitation and exploration, then to analyze the potential effects of a set of CSR practices on these innovation activities. So, we first classified the firms according to their innovation activities which allowed us to distinguish and identify four groups of firms: “exploitation”, “exploration”, “exploitation and exploration” and “neither exploitation, nor exploration”. We then conducted a detailed statistical description of the contents of each group according to standard characteristics and CSR practices. Finally, a barycentric discriminant analysis was performed to identify CSR practices that differentiate and well separate these groups.

The description of the four firm groups, according to firm-specific, sector and CEO characteristics, is in itself particularly interesting. As expected, all standard characteristics involved in this research are significantly different according to the classes of innovation activities, except for belonging to a larger parent firm and firm age. Concerning the relationship between CSR and innovation, our findings confirm that not all CSR practices lead to innovation activities, justifying the need to take into account the nature of involved practices. Besides, we find that the low adoption of a range of CSR practices is typical of firms in the “exploration” group, while the “exploitation” group is characterized by a higher effort to develop some CSR practices, however few in number. The results also show that the high adoption of a large range of CSR practices is related to firms in the “exploration and exploitation” group. In fact, while the group of “exploitation and exploration” is more similar to the profile of the “exploration” group when considering only innovation activities, it is more similar to the profile of “exploitation” group when applying the discriminant analysis according to the CSR practices adopted by SMEs.

CSR, a source of Creating Shared Value in SMEs?

Arnaud GAUTIER, Sandrine BERGER-DOUCE, Christian BRODHAG

Lyon/COACTIS Research Center (EA 4161) – Ecole des Mines de Saint-Etienne / Institut Fayol / EPICE – France

This paper suggests a model of Creating Shared Value (CSV) based on a Porter and Kramer’s concept (2011), specific to the SMEs context, enlarging to the stakeholders concerned, and in particular to analyze their CSR practices. This model is developed in conformity with a value dialectic approach (Schmitt, Bayad, 2003). We used proxemics’ law, enlarging effects, immaterial capital, and the three levers of CSV as reading grids to appreciate the shared value creation.

In their articles (2006, 2011), Porter and Kramer call the scientific community to mind out. For them, companies have not understood the link between social issues and opportunities. To create shared value, Porter and Kramer (2011) propose three main ways: reconceiving products and markets, redefining productivity in the value chain, enabling local cluster development. As a polysemic term, value can refer to exchange value, value judgment, added value, net value, market value, face value, etc. Moreover, SMEs have some specific characteristics such as owner-manager predominance, short-term strategy or proximity management (Torrès, 2008). All of these elements contribute to create a specific CSR approach in SMEs’ context. So, we try to understand how CSR best-practices in SMEs can be a source of CSV?

Our model is constituted of research propositions that will be tested on the French empirical field, probably in the digital sector. The methodological approach is based on qualitative studies (Yin, 2013) exploiting interviews with entrepreneurs.

Inspired by the dialectic model of value by Schmitt and Bayad (2003), our model of CSV aims at improving the knowledge on corporate social responsibility in SMEs’ context through the lens of the creation of value.