University of Oulu

Simunaniemi, Anna-Mari & Muhos, Matti. Thematic analysis on business management priorities in service business. In Proceedings of the 12th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship ECIE 2017, Novancia Business School Paris France, 1-22 September 2017, pp. 620-627.

Thematic analysis on business management priorities in service business

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Author: Simunaniemi, Anna-Mari1; Muhos, Matti1
Organizations: 1Kerttu Saalasti Institute, University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Academic Conferences and Publishing International, 2017
Publish Date: 2017-10-12


This paper views various management priorities used by service business entrepreneurs with a thematic analysis. Entrepreneurial behaviour is an individual-level phenomenon, which occurs over time, and results in an organization as the primary outcome of these activities. Entrepreneurs are necessary for entrepreneurial behaviour, and it is through actions of entrepreneurs that organizations come into existence. Thematic analysis is a search for themes that emerge as being important to the description of the phenomenon. Thus, this study sets focus on small business entrepreneur perspectives on entrepreneurship, innovation and management issues throughout business growth process. The focus is on how entrepreneurs generate knowledge themselves. This study focuses on an approach based on configuration theories that are concerned with the actual growth process, and how managerial problems appear and can be dealt with during a firm’s growth through presumed typical stages of development. Muhos et al (2017) identified four stages of service business growth based on a literature review of empirically-based studies. The stages are presented as a framework with nine horizontal growth management themes across all growth stages. These themes are: Focus; Power; Structure; Decision-making systems; Strategic management; Service development and delivery; Marketing; Human resources, and; Growth. This paper aims to analyse how small business entrepreneurs in service business tell their business growth stories. More specifically, the aim is to analyse which growth management themes appear in open-ended growth stories told by entrepreneurs themselves. The data set consists of parts of semi-structured entrepreneur interviews in social and healthcare service business. Eight entrepreneurs in Northern Finland were requested to tell their business growth stories in their own words. We adopted an approach of thematic analysis based on recommendations of Miles and Huberman (1994) to compare entrepreneurs’ open-ended growth stories to a pre-existing service business framework. More precisely, the growth stories were deductively analysed to meet a priori template of nine pre-conceived growth management themes. This study provides new understanding on business growth and growth management priorities from the often neglected perspective of small-business entrepreneurs themselves. This is important to create innovative platforms for enterprise growth and understanding business dynamics at the contextual level.

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Series: Proceedings of the European Conference on Entrepreneurship and Innovation
ISSN: 2049-1050
ISSN-E: 2049-1069
ISSN-L: 2049-1050
ISBN: 978-1-911218-55-5
ISBN Print: 978-1-911218-54-8
Pages: 620 - 627
Host publication: Proceedings of the 12th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship ECIE 2017
Host publication editor: Loué, Christophe
Ben Slimane, Sonia
Conference: European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Type of Publication: A4 Article in conference proceedings
Field of Science: 512 Business and management
Copyright information: © The Authors, 2017. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission may be made without written permission from the individual authors.