Productivity and Innovation in SMEs: Creating Competitive Advantage in Singapore and Southeast Asia

Azad Bali, Peter McKiernan, Christopher Vas, Peter Waring

Research output: Book/ReportBook

1 Citation (Scopus)


The engine of small and medium sized firms is an influential driver of economic growth in advanced world economies like the USA, Germany, Japan and South Korea. As Singapore witnessed throughout the 2000s, when the engine stalls, productivity falters and a country can fall well behind its major competitors. In this city-state, the decline triggered a transformational policy by a Government intent on forging a ‘high skill-high productivity’ future. By 2014, foreigners made up around 39% of the total active labour force, with an even greater proportion employed by SMEs. Given substantial evidence that low productivity growth occurred in sectors where foreigners dominated the workforce, the seeds of recovery focussed on improving productivity and innovation amongst smaller and medium sized enterprises. By investigating the nature and process of total factor productivity in Singapore’s SMEs, this book’s main aim is to tell the policy story behind the revolution. The narrative that unfolds, contains important lessons for policy-makers and industry globally as they assess the strategic choices available to them for improving living standards.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages114
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2018


  • productivity
  • small to medium enterprises
  • competitive advantage


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