Planning in Small vs. Large Businesses: Do Managers Prefer Different Tools?
Evidence that large and small businesses approach problems differently has raised ques- tions concerning the validity of applying large business prescriptions to small businesses. This issue was addressed bypresenting both large and small business planners with planning prob- lems differing in environmental volatility, system adaptation and nature of planning re- quirements. Different combinations of these factors were used togenerate twelve distinct plan- ning situations. Eight information processing aids were identified that have been described in the literature as planning tools. Each aid has been prescribed to be more appropriate for use in some planning situations than in others. The research tested hypotheses that planners in specific situations would use planning aids prescr ibed for those situations and that large and small business planners would approach the problems differently. Results are interpreted as indicating that use of planning aids does not correspond closely to the theoretical prescrip- tions but that other implicittheories may be operating and the implicit theories used in small businesses may be different than those used inlarge organizations.