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Doctoral defence of Ahmed Al-Sherif, M.Sc., 11.8.: A novel study sheds light on the perceptions about success in small and medium-sized business

The doctoral dissertation in the field of Innovation Management will be examined at the faculty of Business and Social Sciences at Kuopio.

What is the topic of your doctoral research? Why is it important to study the topic?

Perceptions of business success in the context of small and medium-sized companies: A comparative causal mapping analysis. It is important to study the topic since business success is pouring into the benefits of multiple businesses and stakeholders, including managers, entrepreneurs, investors and societies. In addition, new knowledge on business success benefits researchers and decision makers in their endeavours to offer resources and other support that can help increase success.

What are the key findings or observations of your doctoral research?

The findings show that the cognitive perceptions of business success align with the generic conceptual constructs of success defined in the study framework. These cognitive perceptions were found to work in pairs rather than as standalone constructs. The specific geographic location had an impact on the perceptions of success, leading to variations that also resonated with the study framework. While the interview data from managers and experts showed an explicit perception drawing from one conceptual construct of success, the cognitive map analysis revealed the implicit reliance on multiple conceptual constructs. These perceptions were further shaped by various interrelated factors that differed between geographical locations.

How can the results of your doctoral research be utilised in practice?

Firms do not merely want to survive—they want to reap the best outcomes of their business. For this to happen, firms would benefit of a prior definition of success concerning their own business. Presumably, by identifying the qualities and traits that contribute to the success of other organizations, this will encourage managers to look at the best performance of competing companies to promote their own success

What are the key research methods and materials used in your doctoral research?

The research uses a cognitive and comparative causal mapping approach and employs a qualitative multiple case study strategy based on interviews. The study compares the perceptions of business success in the context of two market areas: Finland-Western world and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. The findings were generated through comparative causal mapping analysis of interview data from SME managers and experts. Secondary data was utilized to gain background information into this topic. The analysis provides insight into how SME actors perceive success in their businesses in the context of two different market areas.

The doctoral dissertation of Ahmed Al-Sherif, M.Sc., entitled Perceptions of business success in the context of small and medium-sized companies: A comparative causal mapping analysis, will be examined at the faculty of Business and Social Sciences on 11.8.2023 at 12 noon in the Snellmania Building, Auditorium SN200. The Opponent will be D.Sc., Docent Tarja Römer-Paakkanen, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, and the Custos will be Professor Päivi Eriksson, University of Eastern Finland. Language of the dissertation event is English.

For further information, please contact:

Ahmed Al-Sherif, alsherif(at)