Small Business Audit


with this assignment, you are asked to identify a small business and provide a thorough critique of their operations from an innovation perspective. Your critique should begin with a brief history of the enterprise including its founding, owners and ownership structure, basic business model, structural form, locations, expansion (both in terms of facilities/locations and products/markets), and so forth. Then is an assessment of how innovative the top management team is, and how innovative key functional areas of the business is. This is then followed by the body of the paper where you address strategy, structure, culture, human resource management practices (rewards, appraisals, job design) and control systems within the organization to determine how much each of these areas contributes to or constrains innovative behavior on the part of the employees. You should then close with a section of specific, tangible recommendations for change based on your analysis.

Look into the following issues:

How innovative, risk-taking, and proactive is this venture? Characterize its entrepreneurial intensity, and discuss whether you think this is an appropriate level of entrepreneurial intensity

Does the company set innovation goals? Do these cover product and process innovation?

At the present time, what are the core competencies of the venture? Are innovation and opportunity recognition competencies?

Apply the traits or characteristics associated with the entrepreneurial personality to the senior executives of this organization and draw conclusions.

What is the dominant management style in the company? Is it transformational? How much does delegation feature in the management style of upper management? Middle management? Can you cite prominent examples of “giving up control to gain control”?

Critique the structure of the company. In what ways does it support or constrain entrepreneurship? Is it flat? How does the organizational structure encourage or discourage innovation by employees?

How many functional areas or departments get involved in the creation of new products, services and processes?

How tight or loose is the organizational control system? Provide examples of controls that support or hinder entrepreneurship.

Look at the way in which the company evaluates and rewards employees. Are the appraisal and reward systems encouraging entrepreneurial behavior? Explain why or why not.

In addition to rewards, what sort of awards does the company provide employees?

Examine the hiring practices of the firm from an entrepreneurial perspective.

Describe how open communication is in the company. Can anybody communicate with anybody? How efficiently?

What kind of culture does the company have? What are the key values? How are these reinforced? How strong is the culture? Is it supportive of entrepreneurship?

How bureaucratic is this company in terms of policies and procedures, approval cycles, and speed in decision-making?

How do people in the company feel about change?

Is failure tolerated in this company? In what ways? How do they learn from failures?

Does the company operate with an ongoing sense of urgency? If so, how is this urgency reinforced?
What is the most entrepreneurial department or area in the company? What is the least entrepreneurial? In both cases, why?

Identify two innovation champions in the company. Why do you think they are champions?

What is the most entrepreneurial thing the company has done in the past two years?

Of the above, what do you see as the major problem area in this venture today when it comes to increasing their levels of entrepreneurial behavior by their people?

Outline (of the final report):

You may start with about 2 pages of history that include

Founding owners
Ownership structure,
facilities, location, employees,
company’s products and markets,
performance history
General Level of turbulence faced,
organizational life cycle.

Company assessment based on the above questions (about 5 pages)

Then provide 1-2 pages of recommendations

Finally, provide maximum of one page of conclusions and references.

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