Preventing crises and managing turnaround processes in SMEs – The role of economic measurement tools

Anteprima

This paper investigates the causes and effects of turnaround processes in SMEs and the role played by economic information. Starting from the assumption that the very lack of economic measurement systems may well be an underlying factor of the SMEs crisis, this paper presents three case studies that are particularly relevant to this purpose. These cases describe turnaround processes that were implemented as a result of crises of different kinds, which were not always diagnosed promptly. What they share is the owner’s determination to avoid the worst consequences of an uncontrolled degenerative process, also and mainly by introducing interesting innovations in the measurement systems. Studying these business scenarios led to confirm a high vulnerability of those SMEs that rely on outdated administrative structures and professional skills, unsuitable for fulfilling alerting functions and supporting decision-making activities, which are key in the ordinary operation of a company and, even more so, during a company’s recovery and relaunch.

A brief description of the case studies, provides the empirical material used for testing the proposition and the research questions posed in this exploratory work. The conclusions reached in this paper are meant to provide a real, albeit partial, representation of the management problems that typically affect distressed companies, with a special emphasis on the peculiarities of the management control systems implemented in these enterprises. Our summary, despite its limitations, is symbolically handed over to the scientific community in the hope that later studies will refine the outcome of this exploratory investigation. The aim is to formulate increasingly more detailed suggestions on the design criteria of effective control systems for the benefit of those economic operators that wish to adopt them in order to improve their company’s performance.

Keywords: crisis, recovery, turnaround, SME, economic measurement systems.

Bibliografia
  1. Altman E.I. (1968), Financial ratios, discriminant analysis, and the prediction of corporate bankruptcy, Journal of Finance, 23(4), pp. 589-609. Doi: 10.1111/j.1540-6261.1968.tb00843.x
  2. Altman E.I. (1983), Corporate financial distress. New York, NY, John Wiley and Sons.
  3. Amigoni F. (1977), “Il controllo di gestione e le crisi d’impresa”, in A.A.V.V., Crisi d’impresa e sistemi di direzione, Milan, Etas Libri.
  4. Arcari A.M. (2004), SME – Meccanismi di controllo e gestione della crescita, Milan, ed EGEA
  5. Arcari A., Pistoni A., Moretto E., Ossola P., Tonini D. (2016), How Italian companies are monitoring innovation, Management Control, 2, pp. 143-165. Doi: 10.3280/MACO2016-002007.
  6. Arendt H. (1977), Between past and future: Eight exercises in political thought, London, Penguin Books
  7. Argenti J. (1983), Predicting corporate failure, London, Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
  8. Basile G., Lusvarghi V. (1996), Il risanamento dell’impresa in crisi, Ed Buffetti, Milan
  9. Bastia P. (1996), Pianificazione e controllo dei risanamenti aziendali, Turin, Giappichelli ed.
  10. Bibeault D.B. (1982), Corporate turnaround, New York, NY, McGraw-Hill.
  11. Bibeault D.B. (1999), Corporate turnaround: How managers turn losers into winners, Washington DC, Beard Books
  12. Bradley G. (1978), Self-serving biases in the attribution process: A re-examination of the fact or fiction question, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36(1), pp. 56-71.
  13. Brooks J. (1964), The fate of the Edsel and other business adventures, London, Gollancz.
  14. Burns T., Stalker G. (1961), The management of innovation, London, Tavistock.
  15. Burton L. (1993), Crisis in organizations: Managing and communication in the heat of chaos. Cincinnati, South-Western Publishing.
  16. Cardoni A. (2018), Le sfide evolutive del Mnagement Control tra realzioni Stategiche, innovazione e discontinuità: a knowledge transfer matter?, Management Control, 1, pp. 5-15. Doi: 10.3280/MACO2018-001001.
  17. Cazdyn E. (2007), Disaster, crisis, revolution, South Atlantic Quarterly, 106(4), 642-667
  18. Cinquini L., Miraglia R.A., Giannetti R. (2016), Editoriale. Strumenti di gestione dei costi e misure di performance negli attuali contesti competitivi, Management Control, 2, pp. 5-14. Doi: 10.3280/MACO2016-002001
  19. Coda V. (1983), “Crisi e risanamento aziendale”, Sviluppo e Organizzazione n° 75
  20. Coda V. (1987), “Le tappe critiche per il successo dei processi di ristrutturazione aziendale”, Crisi d’impresa e strategie di superamento, Giuffrè Ed., Milan
  21. Coda V. (1988), “Fisiologia e patologia del finalismo d’impresa”, Aggiornamenti Sociali, anno XXXIX, febbraio 2-marzo 3.
  22. Consiglio Nazionale Dottori Commercialisti (2005), Crisi d’ImpresaStrumenti per l’individuazione di una procedura d’allerta, Ufficio Studi Consiglio Nazionale dei Dottori Commercialisti.
  23. Chisholm-Burns M.A. (2010), A crisis is a really terrible thing to waste, American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 74(2), 19
  24. Coombs W.T. (2006), Code red in the boardroom:Crisis management as organizational DNA, Abingdon, Greenwood Publishing Group.
  25. Danovi A., Indizio G. (2008), La letteratura in materia di crisi. In A. Danovi & A. Quagli (Eds.), Gestione della crisi aziendale e dei processi di risanamento, Milan, Ipsoa
  26. Deeson A.F. (1972), Great company disaster, London, W. Foulsham Edition.
  27. Deming W. E. (2000), Out of the crisis, Cambridge, MI, Press Edition.
  28. Eckstein H. (1975), Case study and theory in political science, In F. I. Greenstein & N.W.Polsby (Eds.), Strategies of inquiry (pp. 79-137). Reading MA, Asddison-Wesley
  29. Eisenhardt K.M. (1989), Building theories from case study resarch. Accademy of Management Review, 14 (pp.532-550).
  30. Eriksson P., &Kovalainen A. (2008), Qualitative methods in business research, London, Sage.
  31. Foster H.D. (1980), Disaster planning: The preservation of life and property, New York, NY, Springer Verlag.
  32. Gao J., Alas R. (2010), The impact of crisis on enterprise life-cycle. Problems and Perspectives in Management, 8(2), pp. 9-20
  33. Giacosa E., Mazzoleni A. (2011), The behaviour of companies facing a crisis: The recent Italian experience, Estonian Business Review, 28, pp. 7-21
  34. Giacosa E., Mazzoleni A. (2012), Recovery Planning and Management Control System in Company Crisis, Journal of Modern Accounting and Auditing, September 2012, Vol. 8, No. 9, pp. 1326-1337.
  35. Guatri L. (1985), Il fronteggiamento delle crisi aziendali, Finanza, Marketing e Produzione, 3 (1)
  36. Guatri L. (1986), Crisi e risanamento delle imprese – Milan, Giuffrè Ed.
  37. Guatri L. (1995), Turnaround, Milan, ed. Egea.
  38. Grinyer P., McKirnan P (1990), “Generating major change in stagnating companies”, Strategic Management Journal, vol. 11.
  39. Habermas J. (1973), Legitimationsprobleme im spätkapitalismu, Frankfurt am Main, SuhrkampVerlag.
  40. Heath R. (1998), Crisis management, London: Financial Times Professional
  41. Hofer, C. (1983), W”Strategies for business turnaround”,  in Strategic Planning Management, July-August. Doi: 10.1108/eb038886.
  42. Lenahan T. (2006), Turnaround, shutdown, and outage management. Burlington, Elsevier
  43. Mitroff I.I., Pearson C.M. (2005), Crisis management: A diagnostic guide for improving your organization’s crisis-preparedness, San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.
  44. Marchini I. (1995), ”Le strategie di turnaround”, in Il governo della piccola impresa, ASPI/INS Editore
  45. Meyers G.C. (1986), When it hits the fan: Managing the nine crises of business, Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  46. Mintzberg H. (1994), The rise and fall of strategic planning, New York, NY, Free Press.
  47. Molinterni R. (1999), Dalla fisiologia alla crisi d’impresa, CEDAM, Padua.
  48. O’Connor J. (1987), The meaning of crisis, New York, NY, Basil Blackwell.
  49. O’Neill H.M. (1988), Turnaround an Recovery: Wath Strategy do you need?”, Long Range Planning, n° 1.
  50. Peters T., Waterman R. (1982), In search of excellence: Lesson from America’s best-run companies. New York, NY, Harper Business Essentials.
  51. Robbins D.K., Pearce J.A. (1992), “Turnaround: retrenchment and Recovery“, Strategic Management Journal, n. 4.
  52. Rosenthal U., Pijnenburg B. (1991), Crisis management and decision making: Simulation oriented scenarios, Dordrecht, Kluwer.
  53. Ross J.E., Kami M.J. (1973), Corporate management in crisis: Why the mighty fall, Upple Saddle River, New York, NY, Prentice-Hall.
  54. Roux-Dufort, C. (2007). Is crisis management (only) a management of exceptions? Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 15(2), 105-114. Doi: 10.1111/j.1468-5973.2007.00507.x.
  55. Schendel D.; Patton G.R., Riggs J. (1983), “Corporate Turnaround Strategies: a study of profit Decline and Recovery”, Journal of General Management, Spring n.3.
  56. Schrager J.E. (2003), Turnaround management: A guide to corporate restructuring and renewal, New York, NY, Institutional Investor.
  57. Sciarelli S. (1995), La crisi d’impresa. Il percorso gestionale di risanamento nelle SME, Ed. Cedam, Padua.
  58. Sciarelli S. (1995), Il percorso di risanamento nelle SME, Padua, Ed. Cedam.
  59. Shuchman M.L., White J.S. (1995), The art of the turnaround, New York, Amacon.
  60. Slatter S., Lovett D. (2004), Corporate recovery, Washington DC, Beard Books.
  61. Slatter S., Lovett D., Barlow L. (2008), Leading corporate turnaround, New York, NY, John Wiley and Sons
  62. Sloma R.S. (2000), The turnaround manager’s handbook. Washington DC, Beard Books
  63. Sutton G. (2002), The six month fix: Adventures in rescuing failing companies, New York, NY, John Wiley.
  64. Taylor B. (1982), Turnaround, recovery, and growth: The way through crisis, Journal of General Management, 8(2), pp. 5-13.
  65. Tichy, N., Ulrich, D. (1984). The leadership challenge⎯A call for the transformational leader, Sloan Management Review, 26, pp. 59-68
  66. Whitney, J. O. (1999). Taking management guide to troubled companies and turnarounds. Washington DC, Beard Books.
  67. Zitto, M., 1999, Fisiologia e patologia delle crisi d’impresa, MI, Giuffrè ed.
  68. Zuckerman, M. (1979). Attribution of success and failure revisited, or: The motivational bias is alive and well in attribution theory, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 47(2), pp. 245-287. Doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.1979.tb00202.x