The role of executive characteristics in their evaluation of financial conditions of European SMEs

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Technická Univerzita v Liberci
Technical university of Liberec, Czech Republic
The majority of SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) have a lower amount of financial assets and earnings compared to their larger counterparts. Therefore, their probability of encountering financial troubles is greater. However, the obstacles they face and perceive might differ depending on their executives’ characteristics. In this regard, this research targets to indicate similarities or differences in the perception of financial conditions by companies’ executives who are of various gender, age, and educational status. Moreover, this paper analyzes SMEs from different countries. By doing so, this research also aims to examine international differences in executives’ characteristics and their perceptions of financial conditions. In line with those targets, the researchers create an internet-mediated questionnaire and direct it to the randomly selected respondents who are owners or executives of 1,156 Czech, Slovakian and Hungarian firms. The researchers also use independent samples T-test and ANOVA tests for analysis purposes. According to the results, while the educational status of executives does not play a determining role in the perceptions of financial issues in all research samples, the perceptions of financial conditions differ depending on Hungarian executives’ gender. Moreover, there are significant differences in the perceptions of older and younger Czech executives regarding the financial performance of their companies. Although some studies investigate firms’ or executives’ resource-based view characteristics, they are limited in investigating a single relationship and a research sample (firm characteristics and bankruptcy of a country’s SMEs, etc.). Since this paper sets and investigates differences in various executive-level characteristics and financial issues of different countries’ SMEs, it might draw prospective readers’ attentions, who might be firm executives, policymakers, financing institutions, and academicians. Moreover, comparing various samples from different countries’ SMEs in analyzed relationships is another crucial value addition that this research creates when filling the literature gap.
European SMEs, bankruptcy, financial risk management, financial performance, gender-age-educational status of executives