A CM-DEMATEL assessment of SME competitiveness factors

Xavier S. Bastos, Fernando A.F. Ferreira, Devika Kannan*, Neuza C.M.Q.F. Ferreira, Nerija Banaitienė

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Competitiveness is a crucial dimension in accurate assessments of organizations’ use of their resources and capabilities, which, if utilized effectively and efficiently, allow companies to achieve numerous competitive advantages. Firm level of competitiveness has assumed increasing importance, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as it generates not only better organizational performance but also, in many cases, business activity survival. However, assessing competitiveness factors (CFs) is a complex, challenging endeavor given the multiple variables that influence companies’ competitiveness. Thus, a comprehensive evaluation model is a necessary tool for decision makers who seek to assess their organization's competitiveness. To overcome previous research limitations, this study combines cognitive mapping and the decision-making trial and evaluation laboratory (DEMATEL) method to develop a complete, well-informed model that facilitates dynamic analyses of cause-and-effect relationships among CFs. Two in-person sessions were held with a panel of specialists in SME competitiveness, during which five clusters of CFs emerged from the discussion and knowledge shared. The results were subsequently validated by a neutral expert. The advantages and limitations of the proposed framework are also analyzed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCIRP Journal of Manufacturing Science and Technology
Pages (from-to)74-88
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023


  • Cognitive mapping
  • Competitive advantage
  • Competitiveness factor
  • Decision Making Trial and Evaluation Laboratory (DEMATEL)
  • Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)


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