Research objectives and content
In the management of the larger SME - which lacks the resources of the large firm and the organisational flexibility of the small firm - marketing activity has been experiencing a transition, if not a diminution, in its role. Many shortcomings have been identified in marketing's ability to organise itself and 'deliver' full customer satisfaction. Other business functions such as manufacturing and logistics appear in the ascendant. The objective of this research is to examine and comprehend changes in the approaches and structures to organising and managing marketing activity in the larger SME. It will study current practice in a range of firms using an in-depth case study approach. The proposer is currently researching a number of such cases in the Republic of Ireland. The opportunity to work in the University of Ulster would afford the researcher the possibility to link into similarly focused research being carried from this campus, and to replicate such cases in sites in the UK and other EU locations. In studying how marketing is managed and executed, the research agenda will move beyond the conventional triangulated paradigm of
structure-systems-shared values to draw on concepts of business reengineering, order fulfilment, service blueprinting and the use of teams and team building.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
The benefit of this research would be, hopefully, a deeper understanding of marketing best practice in larger SMEs and an ability to make recommendation to management about optimal marketing investment and the development of marketing competence in such firms - in effect, to rejuvenate the role of marketing.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)
Given the nature of the research and methodology, there will be a strong flow of findings and relevant ideas between researcher and industry which should help to improve the calibre of management in SMEs.