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Factors influencing performance of SMEs: Literature review and research propositions for SMEs

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Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are considered as the major driver of economic growth (Henderson & Weiler, 2010, Wolff, Pett, & Ring, 2015), therefore, it has been a keen interest of researchers to decipher the factors influencing their performance. Though there has been discussion on various factors which influence the performance of SMEs, a comprehensive understanding of the impact of these factors is missing. The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to review the literature and unearth the factors discussed. Based on reviewing the interrelationships between those factors, the objective is to come up with a mutually exclusive, and a collectively exhaustive, conceptual model which accommodates the direct, mediating and moderating role of the important factors influencing the performance of SMEs. The study consists of a systematic review of 121 refereed empirical articles from different relevant journals. Among those, in the period 2005-2015 thirty-six papers are from fifteen A* and A ranked journals as classified by ABDC (Australian Business Deans Council) Journal Rankings 2013. The review of extant literature is based on articles accessed from Ebscohost, Emeraldinsight, ABI/INFORM, and Wiley journal databases. Identified constructs and proposed relationships in the context of SME performance have been fully described. The comprehensive model which summarises the various constructs which influence the performance of SMEs can be used for further empirical research in the context of both developed and emerging economies. To the best of the authors' knowledge, no comprehensive model has previously been proposed regarding the relationships among important constructs that holistically impact performance of SMEs.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2017

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