This study aims to identify, from among business strategies presented in Miles and Snow (1978, 2003), those that increase the future performance or growth sustainability of unlisted small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Korea. (This study applied the scope of SMEs based on Article 2 of the Enforcement Decree of the Tax Exemption Restriction Act in Korea. The Korean tax law sets the scope of SMEs based on independence criteria set by the scale of sales, assets, and affiliation, and subordination. For example, the size standard of a manufacturing industry can be regarded as a small business if the average sales amount is less than 150 billion won or the total amount of assets is less than 500 billion won for three years.) In addition, it analyzes measured variables of business strategy for factors influencing unlisted SMEs’ future performance and growth potential. The objective is to determine a business strategy for unlisted SMEs, which are small, financially challenged, and have shorter lifespans and faster growth rates. The results highlight that investment in research and development (R&D) for new products influences both future performance and growth sustainability. R&D is an important intangible resource of the firm, which increases future risk due to high future uncertainty, but it is also an important factor to increase future performance or value based on resource-based theory. In the accounting field, research and development expenditure also provided evidence of future excess return or performance. This study is meaningful because it identifies the role of research and development in increasing future growth sustainability in SMEs, thus emphasizing change and innovation.
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