Researchers have been examining the effects of formal strategic planning on small firm financial performance for more than twenty years. Reviewers of prior studies have drawn differing conclusions as to whether formal planning improves small firm performance. We have applied meta-analysis for the first time to the results of previous studies on formal strategic planning and small firm performance. The results suggest that even though the size of the effects for planning for individual studies is not large, the overall relationship between formal planning and performance across studies is positive and significant. Much of the variance in the size of the effects, however, is not explained by sampling error, indicating the potential for other variables to moderate the effects of planning on the performance of small firms. It is concluded, in general, that strategic planning is a beneficial activity for small firms. (Reprinted by permission of the publisher.)
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