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Agrifood SMEs in Greece: the role of collective action

Purpose – Many previous studies have indicated that by acting collectively, agrifood SMEs can improve performance and enhance their contribution to local areas. Although collective action between agrifood SMEs proliferates in many southern European countries, relatively few successful cases appear to exist in Greece. The purpose of this paper is to explore the reasons for this, by relating the theoretical conditions of successful collective action to evidence from existing studies on the Greek situation. Design/methodology/approach – Drawing from the literature on small firm networks, and previous empirical studies of agrifood SMEs in Europe, the paper identifies six conditions that underpin successful collective action: three contextual (type of market, social cohesiveness, institutional involvement) and three behavioural (market orientation, co‐operative spirit, existence of an initiator). Findings – Relating these conditions to existing evidence on Greek agrifood SMEs, the analysis suggests that socio‐cultural factors and institutional involvement are often barriers to successful collective action. However, the presence of at least some examples of strong agrifood SME networks in Greece indicates that such barriers can be overcome. The paper concludes by identifying the research questions to be tackled by future empirical study of Greek agrifood SMEs. Originality/value – The paper explores the important phenomenon of small firm networks in the under‐researched country of Greece. In addition, the paper also presents an original synthesis of key conditions under which collective action thrives, drawn from many previous studies of networks and collective action in the agrifood sector throughout Europe. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png British Food Journal Emerald Publishing
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