Sustainable Business Development through Leadership in SMEs
The aim of this paper is to examine the role and scope of the influence of leadership on the sustainable development of SMEs. Research methods included the theoretical analysis of scientific literature and a direct survey. The quantitative sample for analysis contained 138 managers, the representatives of companies (SMEs) located in Poland. The data was collected in November and December 2015. The obtained results show that leadership is one of the key aspects that enable sustainability. It is more important than employee approval, beliefs of employees from individual departments and teams, a long-term strategy for the sustainable development of the company, approval by external stakeholders, and substantial financial resources. There is a statistically significant relationship between taking action related to sustainable business in the company and manager's conviction (awareness) regarding the concept of sustainable business development as well as the influence of the manager on employees and the stimulation of their behaviour, including their development, decent treatment, communication with the manager, and the system of rewards and promotions. Managers undertake some action aimed at developing their employees. They also establish relationships with external stakeholders. The paper presents theoretical reflections on the relationship between the sustainable business development of SMEs and leadership, also verified by the empirical study conducted among managers of private companies. The findings of the study contribute to the understanding of the connections between these constructs. The relationship between the creation of sustainable business development is analysed in depth with reference to SMEs. Entrepreneurs and managers of SMEs can benefit from the study in order to build an organisation capable of achieving effective and sustainable development. (original abstract)
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