The role of leaders’ strategic improvisation, corporate entrepreneurship, organizational culture, and total quality management on the performance of international SMEs in UAE

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A thesis submitted to the Ghazalie Shafie Graduate School of Government in fulfilment of the requirement for the Doctor of Philosophy

Universiti Utara Malaysia



In presenting this thesis in fulfillment of the requirements for a postgraduate degree from Universiti Utara Malaysia, I agree that the Perpustakaan Sultanah Bahiyah UUM may make it freely available for inspection. I further agree that permission for the copying of this thesis in any manner, in whole or in part, for the scholarly purpose may be granted by my supervisor(s) or, in their absence, by the Ghazali Shafie Graduate School of Government (GSGSG). It is understood that any copying or publication or use of this thesis or parts thereof for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. It is also understood that due recognition shall be given to me and to Universiti Utara Malaysia for any scholarly use which may be made of any material from my thesis.

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The UAE's export has long been relying on the extraction and distribution of petrochemicals, and little or no attention has been given on the development of other economic sectors such as SMEs. Thereby, the prime objective of this study is to examine the impact of Total Quality Management, Leaders’ Strategic Improvisation, and Corporate Entrepreneurship on the performance of international SMEs in the UAE. In addition to that, the study also examines the mediating role of Corporate Entrepreneurship in the relationship between Total Quality Management, Leader’s Strategic Improvisation, and the performance of international SMEs in the UAE.

Finally, the study also studies the moderating role of Organizational Culture in the relationship between Corporate Entrepreneurship and the performance of international SMEs in the UAE. The data was analysed using SPSS and PLS-SEM. Critical levels of 0.05 and 0.01 of significance were used to test the hypotheses. In this study, 8 hypotheses out of 9 are supported while only one is not supported. The hypotheses regarding the direct relationships between Total Quality Management and Leader’s Strategic Improvisation on SME Performance are supported. Likewise, the hypotheses regarding the mediating role of Corporate Entrepreneurship in the relationships between Total Quality Management and Leader’s Strategic Improvisation with SME Performance are also supported. Meanwhile, the hypothesis testing regarding the moderating effect of Organizational Culture on the relationship between Corporate Entrepreneurship and SME Performance reaches the conclusion that SME managers should focus on quality management practices as well as the building of strategic improvisation quality among their leaders in order to enhance the performance of their firms. Also, SME management must try to enhance the entrepreneurial culture and innovative thinking of their employees towards achieving sustainable performance and strategic competitive advantage.

Keywords: Total Quality Management, Leader’s Strategic Improvisation, Corporate Entrepreneurship, Smes, UAE



Aktiviti eksport di Emiriyah Arab Bersatu (UAE) telah sekian lama bergantung kepada pengekstrakan dan pengedaran petrokimia, tanpa mengambilkira pembangunan sektor-sektor ekonomi lain seperti Perusahaan Kecil dan Sederhana (PKS). Justeru, objektif utama kajian ini adalah untuk mengenalpasti impak Pengurusan Kualiti Menyeluruh, Improvisasi Strategik Pemimpin, dan Keusahawanan Korporat ke atas prestasi PKS antarabangsa di UAE. Selain itu, kajian ini juga meneliti peranan mediasi Keusahawanan Korporat di dalam hubungan di antara Pengurusan Kualiti Menyeluruh, Improvisasi Strategik Pemimpin dan prestasi PKS antarabangsa di UAE. Akhir sekali, kajian ini juga meneliti peranan moderasi Budaya Organisasi di dalam hubungan di antara Keusahawanan Korporat dan prestasi PKS antarabangsa di UAE. Data dianalisis menggunakan SPSS dan PLS-SEM. Tahap kritikal dengan nilai signifikan 0.05 dan 0.01 digunakan dalam ujian hipotesis. Dalam kajian ini, 8 hipotesis daripada jumlah keseluruhan 9 disokong dan satu tidak disokong. Hipotesis mengenai hubungan langsung di antara Pengurusan Kualiti Menyeluruh, Improvisasi Strategik Pemimpin dan Prestasi PKS adalah disokong. Hipotesis mengenai peranan mediasi Keusahawanan Korporat di dalam hubungan di antara Pengurusan Kualiti Menyeluruh, Improvisasi Strategik Pemimpin dan Prestasi PKS juga disokong. Sementara itu, ujian hipotesis mengenai kesan moderasi Budaya Organisasi di dalam hubungan di antara Keusahawanan Korporat dan Prestasi PKS mencapai rumusan bahawa pengurusan PKS harus menumpukan perhatian ke atas amalan-amalan pengurusan kualiti serta membina kualiti improvisasi strategik di kalangan pemimpin perusahaan mereka bagi meningkatkan prestasi syarikat. Selain itu, pengurusan PKS juga perlu meningkatkan budaya keusahawanan dan pemikiran inovatif di kalangan kakitangan mereka ke arah pencapaian prestasi mampan dan kelebihan daya saing strategik.

Kata kunci: Pengurusan Kualiti Menyeluruh, Improvisasi Strategik Pemimpin, Keusahawanan Korporat, PKS, UAE



First and foremost, (Alhamdulillah) all praises be upon ALLAH, Lord of the universe for all blessing that He has given to His creatures. And may his blessings, peace, and favor descent in perpetuity on our beloved Prophet Muhammad S.A.W, who is mercy for the entire world. Without the blessings, grace, and guidelines of ALLAH, this dissertation could not have been written. It was not possible to achieve this journey without the blessings of ALLAH.

Second, I would like to render my utmost appreciation and gratitude to my supervisor, Respected Prof Dr. AHMAD BASHAWER BIN HAJI ABDULGANI. Their handwork, guidelines, pieces of advice, suggestions, and precious comments throughout this journey make me capable to produce this research. No doubt, without the guidelines of my supervisors, this dissertation would not have been completed successfully.












1.1 Background 1

1.1.1 Internationalization of SMEs in UAE (2019 survey by UAE SME) 5 1.1.2 Innovation SMEs in UAE (2019 survey by UAE SME) 7

1.2 Problem Statement 8

1.3 Research Questions 14

1.4 Research Objectives 14

1.5 Significance 15

1.6 Scope of the Study 17


2.1 Concept of Organizational Performance 18

2.2 Leaders’ Strategic Improvisation (SI) 28

2.3 Total Quality Management 39

2.4 Corporate Entrepreneurship 44

2.5 Organizational Culture 62

2.6 Underpinning Theories 72

2.6.1 Resource-Based View of the Firm (RBV) 72

2.6.2 The Contingency Theory 78

2.7 Hypothesis Development 81

2.7.1 Leaders’ Strategic Improvisation and Performance 81

2.7.2 Total Quality Management and Performance 88


2.7.3 The Relationship between Corporate Entrepreneurship and SME

Performance 106

2.7.4 Organizational Culture and Business Performance Relationship 113 2.7.5 Corporate entrepreneurship as a Mediator 116

2.7.6 Organizational culture as a Moderator 123


3.1 Introduction 131

3.2 Research Philosophy 131

3.2.1 Research Design 132

3.3 Research Population and Sample 135

3.3.1 Sample Size 135

3.3.2 Sampling Technique 138

3.4 Instruments and Measurements 139

3.4.1 SMEs Performance 140

3.4.2 Leader’s Strategic Improvisation 141

3.4.3 Total quality Management 141

3.4.4 Corporate Entrepreneurship 143

3.4.5 Organizational Culture 144

3.5 Data Analysis Technique 145

3.6 Pilot Study 147


4.1 Introduction 154

4.2 Response Rate 154

4.3 Demographic Profile 155

4.4 Data Screening and Preliminary Analysis 156

4.4.1 Missing Value Analysis 156

4.4.2 Common Method Variance 157

4.4.3 Assumption of Outliers 158

4.4.4 Descriptive Analysis of Constructs 158

4.4.5 Normality Test 159

4.5 PLS-SEM Path Modelling 161

(12) Internal Consistency Reliability 166 Discriminant Validity 167 Assessment of Structural Model 170 Hypothesis Testing of Direct Hypothesis 171 Hypothesis Testing Indirect Relationships 172 Moderation Test 174 Assessment of Coefficient (R2) 177 Assessment of Effect Size (f2 ) 178

4.6 Predictive Relevance (Q2 ) 179


5.1 Introduction 183

5.2 Recapitulation of the study 183

5.3 Discussion 184

5.3.1 Direct Relationships Between Leader’s strategic improvisation and

SMEs’ performance 185

5.3.2 Direct Relationships Between Total Quality Management and SMEs’

performance 186

5.3.3 Direct Relationships Between Corporate entrepreneurship and SMEs’

performance 188

5.4 Direct Relationships Between TQM and Corporate entrepreneurship 190 5.4.1 Direct Relationships Between Leaders’ strategic improvisation and

Corporate entrepreneurship 191

5.4.2 Direct Relationships Between Organizational culture and SMEs’

performance 192

5.5 The Mediation Effects of Corporate entrepreneurship (CE) 193 5.5.1 The Mediation of Corporate entrepreneurship (CE) in Total quality

management and SME’s Performance 194

5.5.2 The Mediation of Corporate entrepreneurship (CE) in Leaders’

strategic improvisation and SME’s Performance 195 5.6 The Moderating Effects of Organizational culture 196

5.7 Contributions of the Study 197

5.7.1 Theoretical Contributions 197


5.8 Managerial Implications 200 5.9 Limitations of study and Future research directions 201

5.10 Conclusion 203

5.11 Framework Based on the findings of the Study. 205

5.12 Chapter Summary 206





Table 3. 1 SMEs Performance Scale 140

Table 3. 2 Leader’s Strategic Improvisation Scale 141

Table 3. 3 Total quality Management Scale 142

Table 3. 4 Corporate Entrepreneurship Scale 143

Table 3. 5 Organizational Culture Scale 144

Table 3. 6 Outer Loadings 149

Table 3. 7 Reliability 152

Table 3. 8 Validity 153

Table 3. 9 R-Square 153

Table 4. 1 Response Rate 155

Table 4. 2 Demographics 155

Table 4. 3 Percentage of Missing Value 157

Table 4. 4 Descriptive analysis 158

Table 4. 5 Normality Table 160

Table 4. 6 Multicollinearity table 161

Table 4. 7 Measurement Model Assessment 164

Table 4. 8 Discriminate validity 168

Table 4. 9 Cross Loading 168

Table 4. 10 Direct Relationship 171

Table 4. 11 Mediation Result 174

Table 4. 12 Moderation Result 175

Table 4. 13 Coefficient of Determination 177

Table 4. 14 Assessment of Effect size (f2) 178

Table 4. 15 Predictive Relevance 180

Table 4. 16 Summary of Results 182



Figure 2. 1 Conceptual framework 129

Figure 4. 1 Measurement Model 163

Figure 4. 2 Structural Model 176

Figure 4. 3 Blindfolding 181

Figure 5. 1 Outcome of the Study 206



SME Small and Medium Enterprises UAE United Arab Emirates

OC Organizational Culture CE Corporate entrepreneurship LSI Leader’s Strategic Improvisation TQM Total Quality management SMEP SMEs Performance



SMEs in the UAE have long contributed to the Kingdom’s economic, social and employment development (Ahmad et al., 2018). They make up 95% out of the overall businesses in the country, making it the country’s most critical economic backbone. A total of 42% of the labor force is contributed by SMEs, which in turn contribute about 40% to the national economy’s value addedness (Mayer et al., 2020). SMEs in the Kingdom have been urged by the government to compete with their counterparts in other developed and high-income nations. Hence, initiatives to further develop these SMEs need to be formulated by looking at their existing conditions and requirements.

Despite their pivotal economic role, SMEs in the Emirates contribute relatively low GDP as compared to their counterparts in Japan (53%), Germany (53%), the United Kingdom (51%), Korea (49%), Singapore (49%), Vietnam (45), Thailand (38%), Indonesia (58) and the Philippines (36%). Under the UAE’s 2012-2020 SME Master Plan, SMEs were projected to make a 41% GDP contribution (Dionisio et al., 2021).

The 2011 survey by UAE SME, an agency of the UAE Department of Economic Development, indicated the high export orientation of SMEs in UAE whereby 51% of them generate revenues attributed to regional and


international markets (in comparison to 44% in EU-27 and 18% in New Zealand).

Meanwhile, 60% out of all the SME exporters attribute 20% of their sales revenue to international markets. Segmentally, the survey shows that 68% of Trading SMEs generate revenues attributable to international customers/markets as opposed to 53%

of Manufacturing SMEs and 37% of Services SMEs. In terms of firm size, export- orientation is highly prominent in medium-sized firms i.e. 66% followed by small firms i.e. 55% and micro-sized firms i.e. 39%. The SMEs in UAE are more concentrated on the international markets in GCC, Asia-Pacific and Africa. About three-fourths of the exporting SMEs in UAE are running their operations in other countries without being physically present in those markets. Meanwhile, another 18%

of the firms have overseas offices or strategic alliances compared to only 5% of their European counterparts. As many as 41% of the export-oriented SMEs in UAE had hired personnel to enter into international businesses whilst another 56% of SMEs, yet not entered, however, have set up clear strategies for entering international markets.

Based on the given figures, the UAE leverages on its export activities or internationalization to achieve greater economic development towards becoming a developed country in 2020. Oviatt and McDougall (2018) asserted that the SMEs’

pursuit of internalization is not primarily driven by the factors of size and lifespan, but rather by the ability to boost their skills and knowledge as well as to achieve resource diversification towards improving their performance and business development. Yet, the SMEs’ pursuit of internalization was found to be hindered by their inability to envisage whether such measure would be profitable, given the various foreign market uncertainties, their own poor experience, limited networks, volatilities and risks linked to foreign operations, and language and cultural barriers (Vihervaara, 2021; Mejri et


al., 2018). Hence, it can be concluded that a significant number of SMEs failed at internationalization primarily due to lack of organizational knowledge, proficiency and comprehension regarding the prospects and risks associated with international markets (Shahzad, 2019). To boost internationalization efforts, the key management at SMEs as well as policymakers must emphasize on developing internal strategic resources, plans and practices as well as inculcating entrepreneurialism (Ariffin, 2019). Ribau et al. (2017) added that the internationalization of SMEs is not only driven by networking, but also organizational factors including unique resources and capabilities. Nofiani et al. (2021) asserted that well-informed owners and managers have a better prospect of deciding apt exporting strategies towards achieving competitive advantage and improving performance.

The UAE Plan 2021 highlighted the role of innovation as the main driver of SME performance and productivity in the UAE. Nevertheless, the level of innovation among the SMEs in UAE is comparatively low to that in high-income nations but similar to or greater than the level in middle-income nations (Al Zarooni et al.,2021). Although various national innovation initiatives have been established to improve this situation, a majority of the SMEs were non-participative. There are also the issues of poor management capabilities and lack of skillful employees, fund and time to carry out research and development (R&D) activities and commercialization of products (Cheah et al.,2020). The SMEs also refuse to take part in technology upgrading initiatives which they perceive as costly. Such issues can be overcome by equipping the SME owners/managers with the advantage of knowledge on innovation which would enable the enterprises to compete on a larger scale (Heilmaier and Ling,2020).


The failure to achieve organizational objectives is mostly due to the organizations’

own inability to provide internal entrepreneurial role models and experts (Syam et al., 2018). Such experts must be able to understand the dynamism of the organization’s setting, adopt market-oriented concepts via proactiveness and innovativeness, as well as address risk-management-related concerns. Response and transformation should be expedited by leaders who are able to provide progressive policies for organizational advancement (Masouleh & Allahyari, 2017; Siachou et al., 2021). Clearly, organizational-level performance has a direct link to individual-level performance (Schneider et al., 2018). Leadership has a substantial effect on the performance of SMEs (Madanchian & Taherdoost, 2017). The ability of leaders to discharge their duties efficiently and effectively is highly crucial in setting the tone for the entire organization’s performance (Manzoor et al., 2019). Therefore, the performance of SMEs in the UAE can be improved by studying the performance of their leadership.

Essentially, there is a need for further investigation on the factors that drive the performance of SMEs given their significant economic role (Buli, 2017). SMEs in the UAE particularly are suffering from deteriorating performance as a result of poor leadership, mainly in understanding, preparing and responding to the current dynamic business landscape. Contemporary research has also neglected to highlight the crucial role played by leaders in driving organizational performance, in spite of their significance in the private sector. Therefore, a shift in paradigm is needed via the identification of new financing sources and more flexible organizational strcutures (Aust et al., 2020). Such change can be achieved in the SME sector by appointing apt individuals to fill the role of leaders. To achieve the needed change, the SME sector


requires people who can identify them with the formal role of a leader to bring successful organizational change.

1.1.1 Internationalization of SMEs in UAE (2019 survey by UAE SME)

The prevalence of internationalization through exports and cross-border supply amongst UAE SMEs.Approximately 46% of SMEs are involved in goods export and/or cross-border service supplies; about 17% out of the aforementioned are principal exporters who derive over 50% of their revenues from international markets (Novo et al., 2021). Export activities are typically undertaken by manufacturing SMEs, vis-à-vis Trading and Service enterprises. Manufacturing exporters make up 80% of SMEs which is twice as many as Trading (44%) and Service (35%) exporters (Wang et al., 2021). There is, however, a marginal decline in exporting trends among SMEs in the UAE i.e. from 51% in 2013 to 46% in 2019. In aggregate terms, there is an increase of 1.5 times in the number of manufacturing exporters for the corresponding period (UAE SME Survay, 2019). Although internationalization is primarily carried out via the customary cross-border exports of goods and service supply, SMEs in the UAE employ a mixed-mode so as to reinforce their global reach (Mohammed, 2019) including by establishing overseas commercial offices, carrying out market visits, and collaborating with international partners in terms of sales and technical aspects. A whooping 57% of exporting SMEs in the UAE have developed overseas technical collaborations and strategic partnerships comprising mainly of commission-oriented agency agreements with local partners for exports, distribution set-ups, promotion of sales and/or local buyer representations.


Although there are 3 times more SME exporters in the UAE as compared to international export hubs such as the UK and Italy, the export value from the UAE is 3 times lower. This is an indication that SMEs in the UAE remain incapable of harnessing greater export revenues in spite of their significant internationalization efforts. About 82% of the SMEs’ exports are concentrated within the GCC region. In contrast, the SME exporters have only penetrated a dismal 12%, 21% and 11% of the African, Middle Eastern, and Eastern Europe markets, respectively. Approximately 62% of the SME exporters have employed either a designated person or a formalized function especially for exports, in addition to a well-defined export plan. There is a also a positive trend of ratifying SMEs towards developing their internationalization capabilities. The number of exporters with a designated exports personnel or a formalized exports function has increased by 1.5 times in 2019, whilst those with a well-defined export plan has increased by 1.2 times in 2013.

Exporting SMEs in the UAE are mostly hindered from going international due to the following factors:

1. Poor knowledge regarding export procedures and prospects in the main markets (as disclosed by 40% of the SMEs).

2. Exorbitant export costs (as disclosed by 30% of the respondents). According to the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2020, in the UAE, the cost for undertaking ‘Export Documentation’ and ‘Border Compliance for Exports’ are 5.1 times and 3.3 times more expensive than the average ‘OECD High Income Country’.


1.1.2 Innovation SMEs in UAE (2019 survey by UAE SME)

Initiatives for innovation have been implemented by approximately 30% of SMEs i.e.

a jump of over 2.3 times as compared to the corresponding period in 2013. About 49%

out of that total is made up of medium-sized enterprises i.e. 2.3 times more than that of micro SMEs (21%). The number of SMEs in the UAE engaging in innovation initiatives is almost the same as that of the EU i.e. 33%; however, this number is lower in comparison to the top performers namely Switzerland, Germany, and Belgium with 48% each. Approximately 83% out of these enterprises (30% from the sample) are focusing on improving their current products/services features, whilst 56% are focusing on new product development (NPD). Another 35% are focusing on improving or optimizing their internal business processes. The number of SMEs executing NPD projects has risen by 14% since 2013. These enterprises engage in innovation initiatives mainly for the purpose of differentiating their products/services (72%) and improving their productivity (76%). Out of the 28% SMEs investing in product-based innovation (PBI), a majority of them i.e. 82% are targeting domestic market prospects, whilst 44% are targeting international market expansion. The investment of manufacturing SMEs in PBI activities has resulted in a greater international footprint as mirrored by the 1.5 times increase in the exports of manufacturing SMEs i.e. from 53% in 2013 to 80% in 2019.

In terms of budget for innovation, approximately 21% of the SMEs in the UAE possess a well-defined budget of 1% to 5% out of their annual revenues. Although SMEs in Trading are the least likely to have a designated budget for innovation, those that actually do are likely to have greater budgetary provisions especially among Services and Manufacturing firms. The rising commitment to engage in innovation amongst


SMEs in the UAE is mirrored by the increase in the number of SMEs with budgetary provision for that purpose i.e. 2.6 times more than the corresponding period in 2013.

However, the SMEs’ Gross Expenditure on R&D (GERD) only accounts for 0.8% out of the nation’s overall GDP i.e. 4.5 times lower than the top performer namely Israel.

About 94% of the SMEs engaged in innovation efforts for the past 3 years have arranged their respective internal accruals. There is a clear limitation in external funding for R&D and innovation efforts as evidenced by the mere 8% of SMEs (mainly manufacturing firms) having had secured bank loans for that purpose.

A direct causal link exists between the innovation investments by SMEs in the UAE and their capability to improve their international footprint through export activities.

There are 2.3 times more exporting SMEs that are investing in innovation than their non-exporting counterparts, especially among micro firms (3.3. times) as compared to small-sized (2.2 times) and medium-sized (1.1 times) SMEs.

1.2 Problem Statement

The UAE Department of Economic Development indicated that the SMEs in UAE has a marginally lower contribution to gross value-addedness than to employment signifying that the SMEs’ labor productivity at AED 149,641 per unit is lower than the productivity of large corporations at AED 164,233 per unit. Medium-sized firms has a relatively higher productivity level at AED 244,785 per unit compared to that of small firms at an estimated AED 138,058 per unit and micro-firms at AED 91,080 per unit (SME report, 2019). Internationally, UAE’s SME sector revealed lower productivity on the basis of PPP (AED 112,253 per unit) in comparison to other Trading and


Service-oriented economies including Singapore (AED 391,816 per unit) and South Korea (AED 214,787 per unit).

The survey carried out by UAE SME, an agency under the UAE Department of Economic Development, indicated the high export orientation of SMEs in UAE whereby 51% of them generate revenues attributed to regional and international markets (in comparison to 44% in EU-27 and 18% in New Zealand). Meanwhile, 60%

out of all the SME exporters attribute 20% of their sales revenue to international markets. Segmentally, the survey shows that 68% of Trading SMEs generate revenues attributable to international customers/markets as opposed to 53% of Manufacturing SMEs and 37% of Services SMEs. In terms of firm size, export-orientation is highly prominent in medium-sized firms i.e. 66% followed by small firms i.e. 55% and micro- sized firms i.e. 39%. The SMEs in UAE are more concentrated on the international markets in GCC, Asia-Pacific and Africa. About three-fourths of the exporting SMEs in UAE are running their operations in other countries without being physically present in those markets. Meanwhile, another 18% of the firms have overseas offices or strategic alliances compared to only 5% of their European counterparts. As many as 41% of the export-oriented SMEs in UAE had devoted employees for international businesses whilst another 56% have set up clear strategies for entering international markets.

Based on the previous discussion, a majority of SMEs in the UAE have pursued internationalization with various degrees of success with regard to growth and economic returns. Various theories have emerged regarding the factors that drive firm performance be it related to environmental, strategic, structural or resource-oriented


determinants. According to Porter (1985), the performance of firms vary along with the competitive advantages gained. Research has shown that firms which practice strategic orientations (e.g., entrepreneurial orientation, strategic planning) demonstrate greater performance and expandability as compared to their more conventional counterparts (Falahat et al., 2018). Strategic orientations have been argued to be able to strike a balance between incremental and across-the-board innovations by shifting the focus on more comprehensive innovative measures. At present, the international performance of SMEs in the UAE is showing a downward trend.

Additionally, there are very few studies on the ways entrepreneurs utilize available resources for the purpose of improving organizational performance (Al-Henzab et al., 2018) considering the general consensus that resources are not the sole factor of organizational success. According to Keegan et al. (2018), there is minute detail about the effects of managerial decisions like SI on organizational resource usage for achieving growth and ensuring survivability. Most existing studies only focus on factors that cause corporate entrepreneurs to disregard the mechanisms which ensure organizational actions are considered, cultivated and permeated (Kuhn et al., 2017).

The findings regarding the link between TQM and performance have been inconsistent. Studies found it to be either positive (Sila, 2018), negative (Sinha &

Dhall, 2020) or non-significant (Sila & Walczak, 2017). The TQM-performance relationship is also suggested to be indirect, thus raising the need for future studies to integrate a third variable in the relationship (Roca-Puig & Escrig-Tena, 2017). Due to such limitations, the general assumption is that the said relationship is affected by the


prevailing organizational culture, considering that cultural norms and values influence the tolerance threshold and usage of TQM and SI in a firm (Okafor et al., 2021).

Additionally, organizational activities have been suggested to be influenced by individual characteristics. Therefore, we assert that OC has a significant effect on organizational goals, processes and structures as driven and implemented by organizational leaders (Fonseca et al., 2021). Existing studies on the factors that drive organizational performance primarily focus on developed countries like the United States (Nyaga & Gakobo, 2017) as well as developing countries like Malaysia and India. This therefore indicates the need for further studies on the Asian region, particularly the UAE in view of its unique positioning in the region. Despite existing research on SME performance in the context of the UAE (e.g., Nuseir, 2018), more information is still needed. Additionally, none of the studies had addressed the mixed variables as employed in this current study. Accordingly, based on the limitations and recommendations of past studies, there is a need for a shift in paradigm among SMEs and their leaders towards achieving societal rejuvenation and economic prosperity.

The aspect of leadership is crucial in this sense due to its identified role as a major determinant of organizational performance (Buil et al., 2019). Hence, the current study investigates the influence of strategic improvisation by the leader and TQM on performance via the moderating roles of corporate entrepreneurship and organizational culture.

Next, internal factors comprising individual and leadership behaviors as CE antecedence in SMEs have also been studied (Lin et al., 2019). Also receiving wide recognition are the organizational effect of CE on performance improvement


(McClean et al., 2019) and individual role in aiding CE growth (Han et al., 2019).

Leaders’ SI and ESE have specifically been acknowledged as determinants of CE and performance. Such leaders have the drive to explore fresh ideas and ways for using organizational resources (Lukoschek et al., 2018) and initiating new ventures (Fang et al., 2019), thus boosting organizational performance. Therefore, SMEs crucially need to ascertain the individual behavior that would drive CE growth successfully. CE is afterall the outcome of individual skills and knowledge, which in turn improves organizational competitiveness (Kremer et al., 2019).

Scholars had proposed CE as a mediator in determining the relationship between internal management factors and organizational performance (Amor et al., 2020). Past studies on CE had primarily concentrated on the private sector notwithstanding its role in driving organizational survivability and competitive advantage. Ahmetoglu et al.

(2018) asserted that the usage of moderators and mediators in a single model could give further comprehension about the effect of the third variable (i.e. organizational culture and corporate entrepreneurship) on the dependent variable. Hence, the current study employs CE as a mediator in determining the SI-performance relationship in the context of the UAE. The vague link between SI and performance has resulted in contradictory outcomes (Naqshbandi & Tabche, 2018). This may be attributed to scholarly assumptions about the general effect of improvisation. Hence, a mediating variable is needed to explain the link between improvisation and performance (Paudel, 2019).

The Resource Based-view Theory (RBT) asserts that internal resources affect export performance. Organizations that focus on the aspect of internal resources would hence


be able to boost their supporting strategies and ultimately their performance. Likewise, SMEs can utilize this insight to find prospects abroad and gain competitive edge (Alassaf et al., 2020). They can decide between contending expansions and choosing strategies based on market situations, as well as between their resources and managerial goals and vision. Internationalization had caused exporting to become a crucial and essential strategic option, requiring SMEs to begin exploring foreign markets for the purpose of capturing and sustaining unique prospects (Anning-Dorson, 2017). Hence, there is a need to examine the factors that drive SMEs to enter into the export market considering that the topic of internationalization among SMEs has yet to gain wide research attention. Business competition in the current landscape is driven by the ability of firms to use their resources for mobilizing their assets. All this will ultimately lead to performance improvement especially in the aspect of strategy formulation and profit determination. The resources-based theory asserts that the internal resources and capabilities of an organization lead to the creation of competitive advantage, and ultimately better performance (Ahsan et al., 2020).

Drawing upon the RBV and contingency theories, this study proposes organizational culture as a possible moderating variable in the relationship between corporate entrepreneurship, its dimensions and business performance due to these reasons:

firstly, the contingency theory suggests for organizations to properly align their strategies and other variables to support business performance (Chang et al., 2021).

Secondly, there is an apparent inconsistency with regards to the evidence empirically derived to prove the relationship between corporate entrepreneurship and business performance (Wiedeler and Kammerlander, 2019). Altaf et al. (2019) hence suggested


the use of a moderating variable to revitalize the inconsistent results related to the relationship between the two latent variables.

1.3 Research Questions

Drawing on the present study’s problem statement, the questions below are raised:

RQ1: Does leaders’ strategic improvisation positively relate to SMEs performance?

RQ2: Does leaders’ strategic improvisation positively relate to corporate entrepreneurship?

RQ3: Does TQM positively relate to corporate entrepreneurship?

RQ4: Does corporate entrepreneurship positively affect performance?

RQ5: Does corporate entrepreneurship mediate the relationship between leaders’

strategic improvisation, and SMEs performance?

RQ6: Does corporate entrepreneurship mediate the relationship between TQM and SMEs performance?

RQ7: Does organizational culture moderate the relationship between corporate entrepreneurship and SMEs performance?

1.4 Research Objectives

The main objective of the study is to examine the factor effecting the performance of SMEs in UAE. Thereby, based on the research questions, this study aims to accomplish the objectives below:

RO1: To examine the effect of the leaders’ strategic improvisation on the SMEs performance.

RO2: To examine the effect of the TQM on the corporate entrepreneurship.


RO3: To examine the effect of the leaders’ strategic improvisation on the corporate entrepreneurship.

RO4: To examine the effect of the corporate entrepreneurship on the SMEs performance.

RO5: To examine the mediating role of corporate entrepreneurship in the relationship between leaders’ strategic improvisation, and SMEs performance.

RO6: To examine the mediating role of corporate entrepreneurship in the relationship between TQM and SMEs performance.

RO7: To examine the moderating role of organizational culture in the relationship between TQM and SMEs performance.

1.5 Significance

In terms of theoretical contribution, this study adds to the empirical evidence regarding the link between strategic orientation and performance. Past research has confirmed the significance of strategic orientation variables in driving business performance in particular. Nonetheless, the existing studies had only concentrated on either one or several of the variables in determining their relationship with performance; none had combined all the key variables for that purpose. This current study extends the research by integrating the Resource-Based View (RBV) Theory and Contingency Theory in investigating the link between corporate entrepreneurship and business performance as moderated by organizational culture. The findings may be valuable for aiding leaders, managers, employees, and researchers in gaining further insight of the said relationship, apart from enriching the existing literature on the effects of corporate entrepreneurship and organizational culture on business performance.


Despite the extensive research conducted in the area of corporate entrepreneurship and business performance based on the RBV theory, there are still inconsistencies reported.

Thus, the implications have called for further investigation. Due to scarce empirical studies on the implications of the relationship between corporate entrepreneurship and business performance, this study also addresses the theoretical gaps in literature.

Furthermore, to address the inconsistent results found in literature about the performance implications of corporate entrepreneurship, this study aims to investigate the effect of organizational culture to confirm the premises of the RBV and contingency theories.

Past research had only concentrated on the effects of either individual or organizational characteristics on performance, disregarding the fact that both are interrelated. This is also the first study of its kind to investigate the effect of strategic leadership improvisation and TQM on the performance of public sector SMEs in the UAE. With regards to the RBV theory, this study significantly contributes new empirical evidence on several issues. Based on the theory, the organizational capability to obtain exclusive resources leads to the creation of better value as compared to the competitors (Wiedeler

& Kammerlander, 2019). This study also adds to the theory by proposing corporate entrepreneurship and organizational culture as the mediator and moderator in determining the link between strategic leadership improvisation, TQM and performance. The outcomes reveal the required entrepreneurial practices for improving the public sector, considering the significant role of leadership in driving the entrepreneurial prospects of an SME (Altaf et al., 2019). Additionally, the study aids the development of strategic improvisational behavior and TQM among SME employees in the UAE. It helps employees to prepare for incoming business challenges


and to play their roles efficiently (Kraus et al., 2019). The study also presents an entrepreneurial guideline for SMEs so that they can achieve performance improvement and output maximization in all aspects in order to keep up with the dynamism of the current business landscape (Sadiku-Dushi et al., 2019). Lastly, the study also presents a guideline for policymakers to develop strategies that would enable tertiary institutions to integrate their initiatives into the country’s economic and industrial activities.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The study has taken corporate entrepreneurs, the TQM, and leaders’ strategic improvisation, and organizational culture to explain the influence of these variables on the organizational performance of SMEs involved in international business. The major issue in Gulf countries and particularly in UAE is the economic transformation from an oil-dependent economy to a diversified economy with more and more sectors contributing to economic growth. Following this, UAE has clearly envisaged in its 2020 plan to develop and grow small-medium enterprises. However, these firms are facing issues such as slow cross-border expansion, and ambiguities in understanding, and deficiencies in exploiting opportunities. The issues mentioned above are complementary to each other. Moreover, the study has taken a comprehensive set of variables to examine the impact of the above-said issues on performance. Thus, the study will help in policy building to improve the performance of the SME sector and bring them in pace with their international players.



2.1 Concept of Organizational Performance

The management community all around the globe considers organisational performance to be one of the most important topics for discussion (Carlos Pinho, Paula Rodrigues, & Dibb, 2014). Its relevance extends to a wide range of domains, such as organisations in the social, educational, and governmental sectors, among others, including business, entrepreneurship, and strategic management (Thiel & Leeuw, 2002). This is because the modern market is characterised by a dynamic and highly competitive environment (Neely, 1999). When it comes to strategic management, the notion places an emphasis on financial matters. This is due to the fact that enhancement of organisational performance is considered to be at the very heart of the discipline of strategic management (Venkatraman & Ramanujam, 1986). For the most part and most typically, entrepreneurial performance is utilised as the dependent variable (March &

Sutton, 1997; Rogers & Wright, 1998), which means that it is used for the purpose of explaining the construct's predominant variation (Carton & Hofer, 2010). The concept of entrepreneurial performance places an emphasis on two primary concerns: I determining the ways in which organisational performance may be improved, and ii) providing an explanation of the changes that are occurring in connection with organisational performance (March & Sutton, 1997).


Despite the fact that it has received a growing amount of attention over the course of the last several decades, the idea of organisational performance still does not have a definition that is generally acknowledged (Appiah-adu & Ranchhod, 1998; G. B.

Murphy, Trailer, & Hill, 1996). On the other hand, there seems to be an agreement on the level of complexity and multi-dimensionality possessed by the idea (Dess &

Robinson, 1984; Ford & Schellenberg, 1982; Johannessen & Olaisen, 1999). After a given amount of time has passed, it has been recognised that organisational performance has an input-output relationship. This involves making a comparison between the value that the company has generated and the expectations that the shareholder or owner has (Alchian & Demsetz, 1972). Performance levels inside an organisation are a crucial indicator of whether or not a company's endeavours are successful (Antony & Bhattacharyya, 2010; Moullin, 2007).

There have been a great deal of attempts by academics to define organisational performance. According to Pitt and Tucker (2008), the phrase may be defined as "an essential indicator of the organisation, indicating how well the activities inside a process or the outputs of a process accomplish a certain purpose" (p. 87:243). The word is also defined as a process that involves comparing the predicted outcomes to the actual results, in an effort to identify individual success and deviation, as well as to re-strategize in order to allow the future attainment of the specified goals (Ngah &

Ibrahim, 2010). According to Amaratunga and Baldry (2003), the process of achieving organisational goals by fully utilising relevant information that would guarantee effective and efficient resource utilisation in the direction of providing clients with high-quality services and products is what the term "business intelligence" refers to.

In the meanwhile, Yacuzzi (2005) defined the word as the organisational ability to


satisfy consumer expectations, particularly with regard to the provision of services and goods of a high quality. In a similar vein, Neely et al. (1995) defined organisational performance as the method through which an organization's activities are measured.

The facet of organisational performance is often regarded as one of the most important issues to discuss in the context of management on a global scale (Carlos Pinho et al., 2014). Due to the prevailing dynamism and competitiveness of the modern market, its relevance spans several disciplines, including that of business, entrepreneurship, strategic management, as well as social, educational, and public organisations (Bettis et al., 2016). In the context of strategic management, organisational performance places an emphasis on financial matters. This is because advancements in organisational performance are seen as the primary impetus behind the discipline of strategic management (Bryson, 2018). According to Sajilan et al. (2015), the dependent variable that is generally and largely used is entrepreneurial performance.

This variable is used for the purpose of explaining the construct's predominant variation. The evaluation of the ways in which organisational performance may be improved, on the one hand, and the explanation of the changes that are occurring in relation to organisational performance, on the other, are the two primary concerns that are brought to light by entrepreneurial performance (Jansson et al., 2017). Despite receiving a large amount of study attention over the course of the last several decades, the facet of organisational performance still does not have a description that is generally acknowledged (Hahn et al., 2017). In spite of this, there is widespread agreement over the degree of complexity and multi-dimensionality that it has (El Akremi et al., 2018). After a given amount of time has passed, it has been recognised that organisational performance has an input-output connection, which involves


making a comparison between the value that the business has generated and the expectations of the shareholder or owner (Antolin-López et al., 2016). The performance of an organisation is an important factor that may be used to gauge the success of organisational operations (Omotayo, 2015). Due to the fact that business performance is a phenomena that occurs inside organisations, previous research has often placed those components into one of two categories: either external influences or internal ones. By broadening the scope of the conversation even further, these academics have suggested that in the competitive environment of today's modern world, companies should place equal importance on the elements that are internal to the firm.

The topic of organisational performance has been the subject of investigation by a great number of academics. One of them is Abubakari et al. (2018), who defined the term as an important indication of how well an organisation carries out its procedural activities or how effective the procedural outputs had been in facilitating the achievement of certain goals. This definition was provided by Abubakari et al. (2018).

Asenge et al. (2018) defined organisational performance as the process involved in comparing actual and expected organisational outcomes toward identifying the individual success and deviation on top of re-strategizing the set objectives for better achievements in the future. In other words, organisational performance is the comparison between what actually happens and what is expected to happen in an organisation. One more definition of the term describes it as a process for achieving organisational goals and objectives by making complete use of the pertinent information that would ensure the effective and efficient utilisation of resources with the intention of providing customers with high-quality services and products. In the


meanwhile, Attia and Essam Eldin (2018) conceived performance as the organisational ability to satisfy customer expectations especially in relation to the supply of high quality services and goods. One other definition of the word "performance" identifies the phrase as a procedure that quantifies the activities of an organisation.

The corpus of literature that pertains to organisational studies places a large amount of emphasis on the investigation of the variables that influence the functioning of organisations. This is due to the fact that the topic significantly reflects the development path of organisations in general, as well as due to the research implications on the efficiency and competitiveness of organisations. Additionally, this is due to the fact that the topic has received significant attention recently.\

On the international stage, there has been a discernible rise in competition in terms of both the number and the quality of products. It would seem that modern consumers have developed a more discerning eye with regard to the quality of the goods and services that are available to them. Because of the very demanding environment that is centred on the fulfilment of the ever-changing wants of consumers, firms have been compelled to create creative strategies and maintain high levels of quality standards in order to maintain their position in the global marketplace. In light of the information presented above, a significant number of academics working in the subject of organisational studies have concentrated their efforts on researching the implementation of TQM methods and on entrepreneurial firms.

Organizational performance is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important concepts in the study of strategic management and organisational studies in the body


of management research that has been compiled over the years (Qi & Chau, 2018). As a result, over the course of the last few decades, a substantial amount of research has been conducted on the subject of organisational performance by a large number of academics and practitioners. Their primary objective has been to gain an understanding of the antecedents, processes, and other factors that drive the improvement of organisational outcomes (Khosravi et al., 2019). Furthermore, the majority of these studies were driven by the practical importance of the notion of organisational performance, which was generated from important managers who have always been concerned about the long-term success and competitive edge of their business (Zhang et al., 2019).

According to Tripathi and Jha (2018), performance measures include actions that assist firms in recognising their strengths and weaknesses in the areas of cost, time, and quality, with the intention of conducting the necessary modifications in order to achieve increased output. Despite the fact that performance may be assessed by both financial and non-financial indicators, it is nonetheless widely acknowledged in the field of organisational studies that performance measurement is an extremely difficult problem to solve (Ringim et al., 2011). It is usually more desirable to have objective organisational performance than to have subjective organisational performance.

Having said that, subjective measurement is equally valid, especially in situations when there are no objective measurements available; in fact, a lot of writers prefer subjective measures since they are multidimensional (Singh et al., 2016). Individual measures in marketing have been determined to be very trustworthy and valid, as well as having a good correlation to objective measurements, as stated by Santos and Brito (2012). These findings may be found in their research. The sales market value, the


return on assets, and the return on equity are three of the metrics that are applied in the process of assessing financial performance.

Non-financial performance may be analysed from the viewpoints of management, human resource management, and marketing respectively. Several other criteria, such as mission accomplishment (Macedo et al., 2016), market share, product quality, sources of competitive advantage, and industry structure, may be used to assess the success of non-financial marketing. When looking at the topic from the perspective of management, Mahamadou et al. (2020) highlighted organisational innovativeness along with the embedded analysis in the organisational culture framework. When looking at the topic from the perspective of human resources, the highlights included job performance, job satisfaction, and employee productivity. Despite the notion that organisational performance is a multidimensional concept, several prior research have examined it using just a single dimension as an indicator (Miller et al., 2016).

According to Steel et al. (2018), researchers are able to choose the dimensions that are most relevant to their study if there are several dimensions accessible. They are also able to interpret the data in accordance with the choices that they have made. In addition, there is an ongoing discussion over the kinds of performance assessments that are the most appropriate for an organisation given that the goals of these organisations might differ greatly. All organisations have an essential need to measure their organisational performance in order to be able to determine whether or not they have been successful as an organisation. This, in turn, enables them to determine whether or not they need to develop a new benchmark for increasing or maintaining their level of success. As a result of this, research on performance have been categorised into two primary categories, which are: I looking at the many methods that


may be used to improve performance, and ii) determining the various shifts that are taking place in performance.

In recent years, stakeholders have greater expectations for public organisations to increase performance at all levels (Miller et al., 2016). This has resulted in a call for greater accountability among public organisations, as well as the prudent use of resources, which will lead to a more efficient and effective delivery of services.

Researchers have identified a number of different aspects that determine the effectiveness of organisations. There are a variety of different types, including cognitive variables, personal qualities, company features, and external factors.

As was said up top, performance is receiving a lot of attention from a variety of organisations, both public and private ones (Amanchukwu et al., 2015). It is essential to evaluate the productivity and performance of workers in order to comprehend the performance of the company, which results in the investment of required funds in training and development. This is due to the fact that an efficient and effective management team that is also able to articulate the organization's goal is the only thing that can boost performance. In point of fact, people are the most precious asset that businesses possess; this is the reason why significant focus is often spent on the performance of individuals in management research. In point of fact, several studies had already established the performance of individuals as a yardstick for gauging the success of organisations (Ibrahim et al., 2016). Individual performance in an organisation has been linked to efficacy, efficiency, and long-term sustainability, in addition to the self-satisfaction and rewards that are gained as a result of well-executed activities by people within that company. Therefore, the substantial expenditures made


by both public and commercial institutions to guarantee that their staff are well-trained, skilled, and qualified in their organisations will guarantee success and a competitive edge for such institutions. Performance at the individual level has also been related to the overall success, profitability, and continued existence of organisations (Motowidlo et al., 2018).

According to Goksoy et al. (2012), companies should place the same amount of emphasis on their internal organisational strategies as they do on how those strategies influence external elements like the economy, customers, and rivals. This reasoning is also consistent with the recommendations made by Owolabi (2012), who said that organisations typically do not have any influence over issues that are external to the company. These academics went on to assert that the impact of internal organisational elements on the success of a company is far more significant than the effect of external environmental factors. In addition to the aforementioned, the body of research also offers a fruitful debate on the subject of the measurement of business performance. In this field, the academics have formed two distinct streams of thought: the first is the deeply ingrained belief that the success of a corporation should be judged by financial methods. Researchers have, historically speaking, been using numerical data as their primary foundation for evaluating the success of businesses. On the other hand, this kind of legislation is still the subject of a lot of heated discussion (Motowidlo et al., 2018).

Previous studies have shown that there is a great deal of variety in performance markers. It is thus possible to draw the conclusion that the process of measuring and operationalizing the performance of a corporation is one that is very challenging. There


is a requirement to offer appropriate arguments for the reasons why there is a need for business performance to be assessed and the components of performance that might more accurately reflect that necessity. This is because there is a necessity for measuring business performance. Researchers believe that there are two primary categories that may be used to categorise different types of company performance assessment, and these categories are financial measurement and non-financial measurement (McDavid et al., 2018).

According to Barnett (2019), the assessment of company performance that makes use of financial variables includes a very practical approach of quantifying that makes use of widely accepted accounting standards. This enables the appropriate management to make an accurate and uncomplicated comparison between the organisations. Previous researchers have utilised the means of net profit, revenues, year-over-year increases in net income, and other variables for the purpose of measuring the performance of specific businesses and comparing it to that of their competitors. This is done in order to achieve the aforementioned goal. The proponents of performance evaluation based on financial metrics encourage this strategy because of the increased objectivity it brings to the measuring process. On the other hand, those who oppose the proposal argue that this approach does not take strategic considerations into account (Platonova et al., 2018).

When estimating the future success of their separate enterprises, the top management of each company runs the risk of being led astray and being deceived. According to the available research, non-financial outcomes provide a variety of benefits to organisations. Some of these benefits include increasing employee motivation,


involving them in task(s), retaining high potential employees, and cultivating a culture that may inspire workers (at all levels) to meet organisational objectives.

According to Costantini and Zanin (2015), non-financial metrics increase the relevance of a business, contribute to the production of value for consumers, and protect an organisation from the influence of its competitors. The next part provides a comprehensive discussion of the company performance measurement, building on previous research for support. Since the primary objective of this study is to analyse the economic performance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UAE, a discussion on the measurement of economic performance in the banking sector is also included. Having said that, Tidd and Bessant (2018) pointed out that the business environment is quickly changing, which causes several obstacles for businesses in terms of meeting and surpassing the expectations of their customers. This is despite all that has been said above. As a result, companies need to go farther than the conventional methods of measurement. Instead of using standard metrics that have a restricted emphasis, Refaat and Schmidt (2016) proposed that organisations should be able to take into account all of the operational components and market considerations when determining how well the firm is doing.

2.2 Leaders’ Strategic Improvisation (SI)

When it comes to determining whether or not an organisation can continue to function, strategic planning has always been seen as one of the most important factors to take into account (Arshad & Hughes, 2009). A concerted effort to make basic choices and activities that create and control what an organisation (or other entity) is, what it does, and why it does it, is what the offered definition of strategic improvisation (SI)


describes as (Olsen & Eadie, 1982 p.4). On the subject of the significance of strategic planning, a sizeable number of experts have amassed a substantial body of knowledge throughout the years (Chelariu et al., 2002; Moorman & Miner, 1998a). The current demands of the corporate environment and the extraordinarily rapid changes that have occurred over the past few years have resulted in the management being forced to deviate from the conventional and traditional approaches and seek out new options to strategic planning. This is a direct consequence of the fact that the corporate environment has become increasingly demanding (Wind & Mahajan, 1997). The rapid shifts that are occurring all across the current business climate have made it very difficult for companies to formulate long-term strategy. As a direct result of this, employees are often pressured to take quick action before having the opportunity to carry out a comprehensive analysis of all of the options that are at their disposal.

SI is a relatively young subfield of management science that focuses on the discovery of solutions for the challenges that businesses face while attempting to adapt to an environment that is always changing (Bakar et al., 2015a; Hadida & Tarvainen, 2014;

Kamche & Cunha, 2001; McKnight & Bontis, 2002). In addition, it is generally accepted that an organization's potential for innovation and flexibility, in addition to its ability to formulate an effective corporate strategy, are all hindered when there is a rigid commitment to strategic planning (Slotegraaf & Dickson, 2004).

Improvisation is a relatively fresh notion that is organically varied and may be somewhat chaotic at times. This is true whether we are talking about its approach or its structure. As a result of this, there is not a distinct definition for it, nor are there appropriate arguments as to why it should be used so often inside an organisation


(Hadida & Tarvainen, 2014; Weick, 1998). On the other hand, there is a significant amount of agreement about its several elements (Vera & Crossan, 2004). The term

"improvisation" originates from the Latin word "improvises," which means "not anticipated," according to Schuller, who is mentioned in Barrett (1998). In addition, Schuller said that "impromptu playing" and "impromptu writing" are both aspects of improvisation that go hand in hand with one another.

The success of an organisation is strongly dependent on the presence of excellent leaders in a variety of positions. This is because the skills and capabilities of leaders reflect not just their own performances, but also those of their subordinates, departments, and peers. This is connected to the following skills and capabilities that leaders who hold numerous jobs inside the organisation should have: (Ibrahim et al., 2016). The primary function of leaders is to act as agents of change by conceptualising novel ideas with the goal of bringing about institutional adjustments and improvements. Larsson (2015) emphasised the need for academics to focus more on the fundamental components of leadership behaviours, orientations, and styles as a means of attempting to comprehend performance (Ibrahim et al., 2018) and the primary determinants of quality and productivity. This was done in an effort to comprehend performance (Ibrahim et al., 2018). He argued that this was necessary for a complete comprehension of performance and emphasised its significance.

According to the concept of leadership, the competency of an organization's leader is a crucial aspect in the organization's capacity to discover answers to problems and respond correctly to the current dynamic environment (Uhl-Bien & Arena, 2018). As a consequence of this, organisations of all sizes, including SMBs, must undertake




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