Exploring strategic planning of family firms in Saudi Arabia
Alwafi, Abdulrazzak R.
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Researchers have called for the studying of strategic planning of family firms, especially in countries such as Saudi Arabia to cater for cultural differences. So far, it is not known how family firms formulate or practice their strategic planning. This research aimed to investigate and evaluate the extent and nature of the strategic planning processes in a sample of family firms in Saudi Arabia. Data from six family firms was collected by semi-structured in-depth interviews using open ended questions. The study employed convenience sampling. A total of 16 interviews were made to collect the data and confirm understanding. Secondary data from company documentation and websites were also utilized. Collected data was analysed (qualitatively) to produce observations on family firms‘ strategic planning process. A pilot study was used to confirm suitability of the methodology and data analysis. The idea for this research came from an actual need of the researcher and many of his friends. The study has many practical implications on family firms both locally and internationally. Therefore, it is hoped that family firms can increase their chances of success and continuation to the following generations. The study found that the businesses tended not to have systematic processes and that analysis was typically unsophisticated and often ignored, while implementation in the sense of resource allocation, setting of sales targets, monitoring of performance, and providing incentives was often approached more systematically. Some interesting strategic patterns across firms were identified such as "Sales is king", "Let‘s do it" and "Just grow". Despite geographical and sample limitations, this study has opened many avenues for further research into the strategy process in family business, both in Saudi Arabia and in other countries and cultures. Therefore, this study contributed by illuminating an under researched part of the world and by addressing a practical problem and knowledge gap.