Competitive Intelligence Behaviour and Attitude Antecedents in French Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in a Funded Intervention Environment

Date

2012

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De Montfort University

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Thesis or dissertation

Peer reviewed

Abstract

This thesis examines the Competitive Intelligence behaviour and attitude antecedents of SME decision-makers in a funded environment in France. As a leader in CI national policy programmes, France draws attention to the imbalance between European nations on the tangible support afforded to SME communities. This two stage sequential mixed method study within the pragmatic paradigm evaluates Competitive Intelligence as a public policy to enhance SME sustainable competitiveness. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with the directors of 15 Competitive Intelligence programmes at French Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Guided by the structure and Theory of Planned Behaviour, the findings from this qualitative phase were then used to develop a research instrument to test research questions that relate to behaviours, attitudes, background factors, choice of CI advisor, terminology, and perceived constraints. In this second stage data was obtained via questionnaire from 176 SME decision makers in the Rhône-Alpes and Ile de France regions, for the two sectors of Automobile and Telecoms.

The findings show that tangible results have been achieved despite resistance from small businesses in regard to their Competitive Intelligence practices. The thesis uncovers innovative practices to change SME awareness, attitude, and practices of Competitive Intelligence. Evidence of significant relationships between terminology usage, advisor choice, and SME decision-maker attitudes towards CI practices provides insight for future behaviour intervention programmes and future research.

The contribution of this study of SME Competitive Intelligence practices is a five stage Competitive Intelligence typology overlaid by corresponding CI manifestations. The findings will be of interest to future initiatives by public/private partnerships in both CI programme design and implementation. The originality of this study is the investigation of SME CI behaviour and attitude antecedents in a funded environment. The findings from this study will be of interest to SME managers, current and future government CI support programmes, and the academic community.

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Keywords

Competitive Intelligence, France, Public Policy, SMEs, Attitudes

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