An Interpretation of the Financial Gap : Practical versus Analytical Reasoning
Background: Small businesses are vital for the welfare of a country. Yet, they have trou-ble obtaining external financing and these difficulties are gathered under the umbrella concept the “Financial Gap”. The most common source of fund-ing for small businesses is bank loan, why the availability of bank financing is a critical factor for their success. Today, 31% of all Swedish companies argue that they have finance problems and for half of these, the problem is to obtain a bank loan.
Purpose: The purpose of the study is to describe and explain the Financial Gap as a relational concept. That is to say that the study will contribute to the understanding of the Financial Gap by focusing on the perspectives of both small businesses and banks interactively.
Method: The study views the concept of the Financial Gap from a practical stand-point, assuming that it expresses its existence in the interaction between small businesses and banks. To pursue this view, the study takes on an Eth-nomethodological research approach. This approach is necessary in order to come close to and understand small businesses‟ and banks‟ everyday prac-tises. In-depth interviews are used for obtaining this deeper understanding of both parties. In addition, a questionnaire was sent out to small businesses in order to verify the information gathered in the interviews.
Conclusion: On the basis of the study, the authors have developed an Interactive Model which describes their understanding of the Financial Gap. The members of small businesses and banks deal with information differently, which in turn is a result of how they approach ambiguity. When ambiguity is present, small firms settle with making decisions under uncertainty, whereas banks prefer to calculate on probabilities, why their decisions are considered being made under risk. The differences mentioned become visible in their deci-sion-making process, where small businesses act pursuant to a practical rea-soning whereas banks employ an analytical reasoning. Consequently, it leads to a clash when these two shall interact and function in a transaction as partners. The study concludes that the Financial Gap can be explained by small firms and banks speaking different languages when presenting the same reality.
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