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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Flexible specialisation: another view on small enterprise development in Zimbabwe
Author:Rasmussen, J.
Periodical:Review of Rural and Urban Planning in Southern and Eastern Africa
Geographic terms:Zimbabwe
Southern Africa
Subjects:small enterprises
construction industry
Economics, Commerce
Small business
Industrial structure
Abstract:From being regarded as an antiquated and less efficient form of industrial organization, at best useful for generating income for the unemployed, small enterprises are increasingly seen as a necessary part of the industrialization process. By being flexible in terms of technology and labour use, small enterprises can achieve a competitive efficiency, which often matches or sometimes surpasses the economies of scale reaped by large firms. This article explores this new view on small enterprises in relation to Zimbabwe. A case study of the building and construction sector illustrates the particular situation in Zimbabwe, where small enterprises historically have played a subservient role in an industrial system dominated by large quasi-monopolies. The article discusses two principal paths for small enterprise development: sectoral clusterings and enhanced subcontracting to large firms. The basic argument is that small enterprises could play a much larger role in the Zimbabwean industrialization process. However, by contrast to what previous policy measures have assumed, they cannot evolve detached from large firms. An increased spillover from large firms to small enterprises, in terms of entrepreneurs, workforce, and industrial linkages, is advocated as the principal path ahead.