Small Business Economics

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 165–181 | Cite as

Strategies, Uncertainty and Performance of Small Business Startups

  • Marco von Gelderen
  • Michael Frese
  • Roy Thurik


Personal strategies of owners/founders of small business startups are related to performance and to environmental uncertainty. This is done using a longitudinal data set. Personal strategies are operationalized by a behavioral measure of the manners in which small business founders deal with situations. The results suggest a dynamic process between strategy and performance. Business owners that perform poorly employ a Reactive Strategy, with poor performance leading to increased use of reactive behavior. High performing business owners start out focussing on the most crucial issues (Critical Point Strategy), with high performance leading to a more top-down (Complete Planning) approach. These relations are controlled for characteristics of the environment of the firm. Strategy use is dependent upon the type and level of environmental uncertainty. Complete Planning strategy is used less frequently in a fast changing environment and more often in a complex environment. Use of Opportunistic Strategy is negatively related to the complexity of the environment, while the Reactive Strategy is used more frequently in a non-munificent environment.


Small Business Reactive Strategy Action Strategy Strategic Management Journal Environmental Uncertainty 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marco von Gelderen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael Frese
    • 3
    • 4
  • Roy Thurik
    • 5
  1. 1.Faculty of EconomicsFree UniversityAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.EIM Small Business Research and ConsultancyZoetermeerThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Industrial and Organizational PsychologyUniversity of GiessenGiessenGermany
  4. 4.University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  5. 5.EIM and Centre for Advanced Small Business EconomicsErasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands

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