Competitive Intelligence and Smes: Small Firms are They Less Intelligent than the Large Ones?

48 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2006

Date Written: January 10, 2006


According to most of empirical studies, French SMEs do not grant much interest in competitive intelligence policy. Experts generally consider that human and financial constraints prevent these small firms from initiating and implementing efficient information processes.

Although this opinion is widespread, it ignores the reality of managerial practices in SMEs. To survive, SMEs must carefully scrutinize their environment. Because they are very vulnerable, they must know their customers, their partners, their products.... Contrary to the common opinion, SMEs do not ignore competitive intelligence. Even if they do not hire CI specialists or buy expensive software, SMEs managers devote time to gather and analyse information. CI activity is especially intense during the creation of the SME. The founder of the firm is entirely committed to the strategic analysis. During this period, he accumulates an informational capital and creates intangible assets he will use thereafter.

In this article, I am paying attention to CI practices which give rise to intangible assets during the creation of SME. In this part, reference is made to Nonaka's model of knowledge assets. If these practices are really significant, then public policies which encourage CI in French SMEs are widely irrelevant. Dramatic changes are suggested in these policies with special regard to the relationship between administration and SMEs.

Keywords: competitive intelligence, SME, Nonaka

JEL Classification: M00, M10, M13

Suggested Citation

Danet, Didier, Competitive Intelligence and Smes: Small Firms are They Less Intelligent than the Large Ones? (January 10, 2006). Available at SSRN: or

Didier Danet (Contact Author)

ESM Saint-Cyr ( email )

CREC Saint-Cyr
GUER, 56380

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