The Australian manufacturing Mittelstand: An initial exploration

TitleThe Australian manufacturing Mittelstand: An initial exploration
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsBaker, S, Mazzarol, T
Conference Name28th Annual SEAANZ Conference 2015
PublisherSmall Enterprise Association of Australia and New Zealand
Conference Location1-3 July, Melbourne
KeywordsAustralia, characteristics, Germany, manufacturing, Mittelstand, SME
Abstract
This paper examined the nature of the German Mittelstand and how it is defined within the academic and non-academic literature. In doing so, a brief history of the German Mittelstand provided a context for characteristics of this class of business, which are largely qualitative in nature, and which indicate that Mittelstand is not necessarily synonymous with small and medium enterprise (SME), however that may be defined. Nevertheless, a conceptual framework for an Australian Mittelstand is suggested, based to some degree on the size of the firm to differentiate between Kleiner and Größer Mittelstand. Several Australian manufacturing firms were identified which, based on the publicly available information, appear to qualify as Mittelstand. The paper endeavours to provide a starting point for the development of a working definition of an "Australian Mittelstand", to be used in future research aimed at the reinvigoration of the Australian manufacturing sector.