Journal: Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 14, p. 36–47–12, 2007
International Standard Numbers:
Open Access: none
Purpose – Due to their limited resources small- and medium-sized firms are often assumed not to
influence or “drive” their industries or markets. However, based on insights from social cognition and
studies of firms’ reputations it is argued that small firms might benefit from actively influencing their
reputations as well as the standards against which they are evaluated. The purpose of this paper is to
explore empirically whether small firms actually try to influence their markets in such a manner.
Design/methodology/approach – A detailed longitudinal tracking of a top manager’s (of a
medium-sized manufacturing firm) interactions with the firm’s external constituencies is applied to
investigate whether and how this manager tries to influence other market actors.
Findings – The results show that considerable efforts are devoted to try to influence a wide range of
external actors in relation to a range of topics, but with an emphasis on the characteristics of his own
firm. This indicates that the firm aims to induce and benefit from a good reputation.
Originality/value – The value of the paper is that it demonstrates how small firms can “drive” their
small enterprises, markets in a more subtle and incremental manner as opposed to how market driving
is presently understood.