Fundamentals of SME management - Master Course Module 1

Leader: Leeds Beckett University
170 pages long module handbook (with national specifications, reflective questions, cases and recommended reading) – 4 Sections, 17 Units
E-learning module material (with interactive elements, short films, self-assessment, glossary and additional materials)
ISBN 978-615-5607-53-0

FAME projectIntroduction to Fundamentals of SME Management The importance of SMEs is undisputed: they constitute the majority of businesses in the global markets, contribute to economic growth and prosperity on a national level, and are key drivers of employment and innovation. This module will consider the management of these essential contributors to global and national economies. The training materials for the ‘Fundamentals of SME Management’ module introduce the reader to vital concepts, models, ideas and academic debate that are central to understanding the nature, management and workings of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). In this module, we highlight the key elements of ‘classic’ business models extensively used in both education and practice but apply them to a SME context. Management theory and practice has continuously evolved over time as we see the progression, such as from ‘Great Man theory’ and Scientific Management, towards a ‘Human Relations approach’. Due to this evolutionary nature of management, we also introduce in this module contemporary academic and policy literature as a means of highlighting current developments in the thinking, research and analysis of SME management.

Learning Objectives (LOs):

  • LO1: Critically evaluate family owned SMEs characteristics, behaviour and motivations and arrive at informed conclusions relating to current and proposed international business futures.
  • LO2: Assess the nature of the business environment as it affects family owned small business and evaluate business opportunities and threats.
  • LO3: Evaluate the relevance of creativity and innovation to family owned SMEs and to the development of business opportunities.
  • LO4: Assess the importance of the contribution of marketing to the success of family owned SMEs.

By way of introducing the reading to this field, we first put forward a brief contemporary historical overview of SMEs and explain their role in a changing economy and society. This Section, called ‘the bigger picture’, covers the key management issues that founders of SMEs will face in general, and those faced in turbulent times in particular. We consider what makes SMEs (and family businesses) somewhat resilient in times of crisis and we then expand upon the macro environmental view through an exploration of PESTLE (Political, Economic, Socio-demographic, Technological, Legal and Environmental elements found in the macro-environment) as well as the central premises and implications of stakeholder theory. The role of government in promoting and encouraging SMEs is also addressed, within the context of the governance and control of SMEs.

In the second Section ‘making things happen’, we turn our focus towards the micro environment and introduce issues affecting SME (and family business) growth and development, with a particular focus on the opportunities and constraints on growth from the point of view of SMEs themselves. Within this context, we consider the opportunistic aspect of founders and operations in SMEs. After moving from the macro to the micro perspective, we then narrow our view further by considering the individual that founds and manages the SMEs. The role of entrepreneurs and owner managers is discussed in relation to the body of work around their personal attributes, skills and behaviours that distinguish them from other businesses.

In Section three, we continue to examine the micro environment and individual aspects that were commenced in Section two. We consider SMEs in terms of the specific characteristics of organisational culture in small businesses and the individual aspects in the form of leadership style, strategy implementation, entrepreneurial leadership and the motivations that founders have for starting and persevering to make a success of a small business. Although many SMEs struggle to survive in the initial years of operation and many fall to the wayside, by way of conclusion, we consider in our fourth and final unit the issues that SMEs have to face in the longer term. In this way. We look at the decision-making processes of the founders and management in SMEs, how SMEs develop and maintain competitiveness, issues relating to corporate social responsibility, and entrepreneurial marketing, as a means of establishing a brand and a company reputation. We also consider how SMEs undertake internationalisation, including the meaning and implications of globalisation for SMEs.

The e-learning outcomes of the FAME programme have been implemented on the Budapest Business School Moodle platform:
Access to the e-learning materials can be asked from Budapest Business School – please contact László Varga (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), administrative coordinator of the FAME project.

IO2-Master Module 1 -Fundamentals of SME management 


FAME IO2 Module 1 structure - Fundamentals of SME Management

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FAME IO2 Module 1 Handbook

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