Research Methodology

For the next phase of research, the NISSOS Project Partners developed a questionnaire consisting of 65 questions during spring 2003. It includes quantitative, descriptive data about the firm; an account of the stakeholders’ position with respect to the firm; the enterprise’s specific competences (production considerations, marketing orientation, operational effectiveness); the enterprise’s ‘internal’ architecture and technology dependence; its human resource policies, if any; firm reputation and product branding; the firm’s institutional relationships (with banks, state departments, development corporations) and its ‘goodness of fit’ with its environment.

The questionnaire template was administered to two sets of five small firms each, all of which qualify as successful (as defined above). Two different firms were selected carefully from each of the five island territories. The first firm was selected by virtue of its association with craft based production, mainly resorting to locally available raw materials (wood, glass, fish or wool). The second firm was chosen because it had an IT-driven and knowledge intensive product. Data for all 10 firms was mainly derived by semi-structured interviews during site visits to the firms, discussions with the founder or chief executive officer, and often supported by exchanges with individual employees. The names of the 10 selected firms are displayed below:

Island Territory

Firm enjoying raw material input

‘Hi-Tech’ Firm

Aland Snickarboden Consilia Solutions
Iceland Lysi Frisk Software
Malta Mdina Glass Shireburn Software
Saaremaa Saare Paat Baltic Workboats
Scottish Isles Shetland Designer Gaeltec