The concept of the research is based on the fact that competitiveness is a multi-factor problem, and an enterprise is treated as an open system influenced by, and influencing, other systems. The competitiveness of a nation is strong if most of its participants at a micro level are competitive in local and/or external markets, i. e. they demonstrate high and increasing productivity and sufficient profitability to attract investors, and increase their share in the respective markets. A competitive company, industry or national economy wins the competition for production resources (qualified labor, capital and innovative ideas) and for their share in both internal and external markets.
This project considered competitiveness as the availability of primary production factors (in the context of comparative advantage theory) for an enterprise and factor efficiency (in the context of competitive advantages). This combination is necessary as many empirical studies in Russia revealed that enterprise competitiveness still depends to a large extent on inherited comparative advantages and a recombination of factors.
The research work proposed a comparative analysis and a mix of statistical and empirical studies as the main method for the analysis of structural and competitiveness problems. One of the important analytical research tools is the international comparison of the level and factors that affect competitiveness. These comparisons were made for Russia’s peers in terms of economic structure and level.
The proposed methods of research were tested on an empirical base created in 2006 as a result of a formalized survey (consisting of approximately 200 questions) of top managers and CFOs. The survey covered about 1000 large and medium enterprises in eight manufacturing sectors in Russia and 300 small enterprises, representing manufacturing, retail trade and service sectors. Moreover, the questionnaires were supplemented by company financial statements. The survey was conducted in September-December 2005 by GfK-Rus and was financed by the World Bank together with Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. The sample was developed by GfK-Rus and SU-HSE experts and stratified into sectors of the manufacturing industry and size groups of enterprises.