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Empowerment in small businesses

Peter Wyer (De Montfort University, Bedford, UK)
Jane Mason (De Montfort University, Bedford, UK)

Participation and Empowerment: An International Journal

ISSN: 1463-4449

Article publication date: 1 November 1999


The concept of empowerment has received a great deal of attention in recent years. However, the empowerment knowledge base is predominantly large company‐oriented with little evidence of understanding what empowerment means in a small business context. It is inappropriate to treat the small firm as a microcosm of a large organisation. The small business is qualitatively as well as quantitatively different and this article propounds that it is questionable whether the concept of empowerment and its various dimensions as portrayed in the literature are readily transferable to small businesses. It is suggested that empowering management approaches are key features of successful growth‐oriented small firms but the current body of empowerment literature fails to encapsulate the idiosyncrasies and informalities of the small business operation, and thus convey understanding of the unique and novel forms of empowerment which facilitate sustainable development. Case study insight is used to support these propositions.



Wyer, P. and Mason, J. (1999), "Empowerment in small businesses", Participation and Empowerment: An International Journal, Vol. 7 No. 7, pp. 180-193.




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