Entrepreneurship and the small to medium-sized enterprise: A divergent/convergent paradox in thinking patterns between advisers and SME owner-managers

John Day, Paul Reynolds, Geoff Lancaster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose The purpose of this paper is to suggest a framework for competing theories of entrepreneurship but to argue for transparency in one's attempts to understand this phenomenon. Then to argue that, when matching small business advisers to small business, one should consider their entrepreneurial abilities and match as appropriate. A parsimonious method is suggested to measure entrepreneurial ability – divergent thinking. Design/methodology/approach A discussion of entrepreneurship and a proposed matrix that considers the relative entrepreneurial abilities of both partners and is then expanded to account for different decision scenarios. Findings A simple test for divergent thinking is suggested to measure entrepreneurship, applied to some hypothetical scenarios, and is supported by some broad evidence on the relationship between small businesses and commercial banks. Research limitations/implications At this stage a conceptual article but with real implications for managing SME and adviser relationships. Practical implications Should lead to a better understanding by both the SME and their advisers of what each party needs to contribute to ensure a successful outcome. Originality/value Provides a framework for classifying entrepreneurship and a different perspective on the SME and adviser relationship; suggests a different way from, say, traditional entrepreneurial orientation scales by which to measure entrepreneurial capacity of either the adviser or the SME.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-597
Number of pages17
JournalManagement Decision
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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