National Productivity Week 27th January 2025 | Visit Website

A diverse community of
leading experts, policymakers
and practitioners

The Institute’s key research themes
are led by ten academic partners
spread across the UK.

We’re a UK-wide research
organisation exploring what
productivity means for business

Businesses are crucial to solving
the UK’s productivity problems.


SME Leaders’ Strategic Roadmap to overcome the Digital Gap in Labour Productivity

This project will help SME leaders’ cognitive skills for strategising and planning to optimise the synergy between technical and human capabilities in the SME and take the risk of digital transformation. The issues for SME leaders making entrepreneurial decisions to cope with the transition from a reactive operational to a strategic mindset are well known. This shift towards strategic mindset is however necessary to make risky radical decisions such as adopting any of the radical Industry 4.0 innovations.

A strategic mindset has to be agile –flexible and holistic –because the digitalisation decision requires a coherent and clear course of action orchestrating the input of functional disciplines such as HR and Digital Operations. The development of a best practices Strategic Roadmap for SME Leaders to emulate will help overcome the fears, lack of clarity and insecurities that impede strategic decisions regarding digitalisation.

The literature explains that SMEs with poorly developed management best practices have been less successful in implementing digital innovations and developing competitiveness. Registering how SME leaders in the currently most digitalised sectors in the UK have successfully coped with the transition of their planning and decision activities to the strategic level, will help compile a Strategic Roadmap (Siebelink, et al. 2021) of best practice that will help SME Leaders in under digitalised sectors to build confidence and change their practice.

Lead researcher Maria Kapsali, University of the West of England