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Introduction

It also provides adequate support to validate the PLS model globally Wetzels et al. The present study was conducted among SMEs in Malaysia with a twofold research objective in mind. First, to examine the relationship between critical success factors and non-financial performance; second, to investigate the relationship between critical success factors and financial performance.

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First, the statistical results have underlined that top management support is significantly and positively related to financial performance. Consistent with previous findings, financial performance could be improved if top management emphasizes communicating the mission and vision throughout the entire organization, providing direction for employees to achieve and increase their level of performance Demirbag et al.

However, the findings of the present study have determined that top management support was not significantly related to non-financial performance.

This could be due to the high power distance culture and hierarchical organizational structure in Malaysia, which means employees unlikely to voice their opinions and approach their bosses directly, thus limiting the development of relationship between top management and employees, and open communication required for innovation. Contrary to expectation, customer focus and employee orientation were not found to have any significant effect on non-financial performance and financial performance. The nature of the firms studied in the present study provides reasonable justifications for these findings.

Although creating satisfied customers are essential for firms to success, customer focus strategy seems to be too costly for small capital SMEs. On the other hand, small number of employees in SMEs might be the reason which makes employee orientation less relevant in helping firms to achieve superior performance. The analysis has indicated that technology orientation is significantly and positively related to both non-financial performance and financial performance.

As evidenced by previous research, firms that are technology-oriented have better chance to achieve superior performance Al-Ansari et al. As for entrepreneurial orientation, the results have shown that entrepreneurial orientation is positively related to both non-financial performance and financial performance. This is further supported by Jabeen and Mahmood who state that firms adopting a strong entrepreneurial orientation are willing to take risks and thus they can innovate quickly, which would result in more innovative products and leading to superior performance.

This paper recognizes the relationship between the critical success factors determinants as the drivers of the effectiveness and success of organizational performance in Malaysia SMEs. In continuation hereof, the adoption of the CSFs should not only be seen as a mean to satisfy external stakeholders, but similarly, the CSFs proved to be beneficial in optimizing internal processes of the organization.

From the managerial perspective, this research offers a number of policy implications for SMEs managers and policy makers. The instrument used in this paper will be very useful to policy makers in SMEs as a tool for evaluating the effectiveness of their current organizational practices. Furthermore, SMEs managers should be aware that the intermediating impact of organizational performance financial and non-financial performance could only be enhanced by improving the critical success factors determinants.

This study can help entrepreneurs, especially SMEs owners who often lack capital, to identify critical success factors, with which they can add most value to their business. The findings of this study suggest that, for the context of SMEs in Malaysia and current business environment, technology orientation and entrepreneurial orientation are the most important factors for entrepreneurs to improve their performance, and therefore entrepreneurs should prioritize their investments in these success factors.

This study contributes to the body of knowledge by demonstrating that different critical success factors have different degrees of impact on organizational performance. The findings show that technology orientation and entrepreneurial orientation are positively related to both non-financial performance and financial performance, while top management support is positively related to financial performance only. In contrast, the results do not support any relationship between customer focus, employee orientation and organizational performance.

By comparing several critical success factors in a model, this study revealed the most significant critical success factors that can contribute to better organizational performance. Hence, this study has successfully developed some guidelines for scholars who are interested in this field to further test the relationships among these constructs, especially in SMEs and emerging country context. Future studies may replicate this effort with slight modifications.

This study has relied primarily on samples of SMEs entrepreneurs in Malaysia. Therefore, it is not certain that the results can be generalized to larger organizations or other countries. Moreover, this study used cross-sectional data and thus it can only provide a static perspective on fit. Comparative studies across industries, cultures, and professions, including control variables such as size and industry, should be sought in the future in order to improve understanding on the relationship between constructs included in this study.

Besides that, several research approaches that can be conducted, such as case studies, focus group discussions, may permit deeper insights. Wherever possible, future research should endeavor to determine a more holistic quality management model. Research efforts could examine the effect of total quality management critical success factors on organizational performance.

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Another important avenue for future research is to carry out an in-depth interview with the senior management in order to gain more detail information. It is further suggested that research efforts should seek to complement the subjective measures by objective data in order to gain more reliable findings.

As point of departure in the stated research objectives, it was sought to investigate the critical success factors on the organizational performance financial and non-financial of the SMEs Malaysia companies.


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From the empirical analysis, five critical success factors on organizational performance were analyzed. It was revealed that two technology orientation and entrepreneurial orientation out of five proposed CSFs have significantly contributed to the organizational performance of the SMEs. The implication of the empirical analysis indicates that having a high degree of technology orientation has direct impact on the organizational performance.

Project Management and Critical Success Factors

This indicates that to improve the firm performance, it is essential for SMEs to cultivate technology orientation through the active acceptance of new technology. Particularly, having a high degree of entrepreneurial orientation in the SMEs is vital as it wields a positive influence on organizational performance.

These findings thus indicate that it may be beneficial for SMEs firms to place special emphasis on technology orientation and entrepreneurial orientation. Ahire, S. Quality management in large vs. Journal of Small Business Management , 34 2 , Akter, S. Trustworthiness in mHealth information services: an assessment of a hierarchical model with mediating and moderating effects using Partial Least Squares PLS.

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