Paper on interventions in small and medium-sized enterprises rewarded in Poland

No less than 138 contributions were presented when QMOD, an annual conference within the quality field, was held in the Polish town of Poznan. The prize for “Best Paper” was awarded to the paper discussing the Future SME transformation cases, written by Chalmers researchers Marcus Assarlind, Henrik Eriksson, Ida Gremyr, and Torbjörn Jakobsson.

Each year QMOD attracts about 200 researchers and others interested in quality research. Marcus Assarlind is very pleased with the success that he and his colleagues from the Division of Quality Sciences at the Department of Technology Management and Economics made with their paper.

“The thought of all the talented researchers who attended the conference and that there were 138 submitted contributions makes it feel really great”, Marcus said.

The paper, Designing interventions in SMEs: Experiences from a pan-European multiple case study, is about interventions in small and medium-sized companies. It emphasizes the importance of setting realistic goals are well supported by the management, and of intervention activities that focus on real company data which aid in formulating such goals.

“This group of companies often has insufficient competence or resources to carry out extensive improvement projects themselves, which is why interventions by external experts are common. We have studied what can be done to improve the chances for success with such efforts”, Marcus tells.

Cooperation with 12 companies for four years

The reason why their contribution won, he believes, is partly due to the fact that the empirical basis for the article is very comprehensive and is supported by a co-operation with 12 companies that the researchers have carried out in the futureSME project for roughly four years.

The award means that the researchers will be invited to publish the article in one of the journals tied to the conference. Marcus, who is a doctoral student, thinks that a publishing is very well timed.

“This way, I can focus on the other articles I am working on in parallel. I plan to defend my doctoral thesis during the first half of 2014. The thesis is about how to get started with change management in SMEs” Marcus explains.

He believes that QMOD is great for meeting old acquaintances and new friendly faces. “There are many brilliant people that you can be inspired by, both by listening to their presentations and through discussions. This year it was particularly enjoyable that all six participants with a connection to Quality Sciences at Chalmers received recognition in the form of nominations tied to four different papers”.