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Small firms and the challenge of equality, diversity and difference

Rowena Barrett (Department of HRM, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK)
John Burgess (Newcastle Graduate School of Business, The University of Newcastle, Newcastle, Australia)

Equal Opportunities International

ISSN: 0261-0159

Article publication date: 28 March 2008




The purpose of this paper is to introduce the papers contributing to this special issue and to locate them within the broader questions about the role of small firms in enabling or alleviating issues of equality, diversity, and difference for various groups in society.


The literature dealing with the issues of equality, diversity, and difference pertaining to the operation of and/or working in smaller firms was reviewed prior to drawing out the key points from the submitted papers and considering the contribution they make to this literature.


Overall, one's these five papers contribute to one's understanding of the issues facing those in business or self‐employment, working in small business or wanting to pursue enterprise.


Rarely are questions asked about the assumed role small firms play in mitigating social exclusion for a range of groups in society. By addressing questions which explore the challenge of equality, diversity, and difference for small business in their establishment, management, and effective operation using interdisciplinary frameworks and different methodologies, a better understanding of the role of small business in society can be developed.



Barrett, R. and Burgess, J. (2008), "Small firms and the challenge of equality, diversity and difference", Equal Opportunities International, Vol. 27 No. 3, pp. 213-220.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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