Adopting new ways of working in small and medium-sized enterprises: findings from interventions in 12 European companies
Journal article, 2013

This paper elaborates on the factors to be considered in order for interventions (activities aimed at introducing new ways of working through a series of focused activities in an organisation) to lead to long-term effects inside small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Its purpose of it is to describe how interventions can be carried out in order for SMEs to adopt new ways of working by understanding the context, process and content of an intervention. The results of this study suggest that in designing interventions for the SMEs, the context aspects of an intervention must be carefully considered. Not only is the process or context of an intervention important, but so is the content. As a consequence, we suggest content that accomplishes the following: (1) supports the formulation of strategies; (2) encourages dialogue and (3) uses company data. The paper is based on a multiple case study of 12 SMEs from 6 European countries undergoing similar interventions within the FutureSME project. These long-term relationships within a large-scale project have provided access and a rare opportunity to conduct research on this often overlooked business sector. The empirical data have been collected through company presentations, structured reports and narratives. The material has been subject to a cross-case analysis.


visual strategy

business diagnostic



strategy wall


Marcus Assarlind

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Quality Sciences

Henrik Eriksson

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Quality Sciences

Ida Gremyr

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Quality Sciences

Torbjörn Jakobsson

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Quality Sciences

Total Quality Management and Business Excellence

1478-3363 (ISSN) 1478-3371 (eISSN)

Vol. 24 8 945-958

Subject Categories

Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics

Other Mechanical Engineering

Areas of Advance




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