Benchmarking for entrepreneurial survival: Pursuing a cohesive and imperfectly imitable culture

Ruth B. McKay, Sprott School of Business
Ed Chung, Elizabethtown College


Purpose - To propose a conceptual framework that facilitates the benchmarking of strategic processes necessary for entrepreneurial survival and success. Design/methodology/approach - Drawing on extant literature on entrepreneurial survival, this paper considers the chaotic and emergent nature of the entrepreneurial organization and how benchmarking can contribute to a newly established firm's chances for survival and prosperity. The paper incorporates the concept of a sustainable competitive advantage in the discussion, and offers organizational culture as being the imperfectly imitable element which will contribute to the entrepreneurial firm's success. Findings - Four key processes are identified that contribute to entrepreneurial viability - cooperation, sharing founder's vision, time management, and developing organizational competencies - and suggestions are offered for developing appropriate benchmarks for these processes. The paper also highlights two instruments that may be useful in this endeavor. Research limitations/implications - The paper draws attention to the usefulness of benchmarking processes and not just metrics in fostering entrepreneurial survival. Key processes are identified, and suggestions are provided for researchers to begin work on developing the necessary benchmarks. Practical implications - The paper not only offers a theoretical discussion of the usefulness of benchmarking processes as opposed to focusing only on outcomes, but also helps the practitioner to implement such benchmarking activities by highlighting practical instruments for this purpose. Originality/value - This paper brings to bear literature from several streams of research. It takes benchmarking from its metric-oriented focus to a more process-focused approach, and applies it in the context of entrepreneurial survival. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.