Small professional service firms constitute an important segment of the small business population. Explanations of the emergence, employment potential and economic contribution of such firms have been much debated. Yet, comparatively little is known of the “people dimension” in such enterprises, particularly in firms undergoing some form of organisational transition. This paper aims to examine the interplay of work relations and “growth” in the particular case of WhitCo (an organisation that was attempting the transition from its entrepreneurial beginnings to a more formally configured set‐up). The study, which is based on an ethnographic investigation in the case firm over a year‐long period, addresses three issues: the motivations for growth in the small professional service firm; the manner in which attempts at organisational transition impinge upon “collegial” patterns of work relations typical in these firms; and the importance of interpersonal relations to “growth”. The study provides a rare insight into the management of social relations within a firm typical of many in the business services sector. It highlights the critical role of “people management” to shaping the trajectory of small firm growth.
Ram, M. (2000), "“Professionals at work” – transition in a small service firm", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 69-77. https://doi.org/10.1108/EUM0000000006806
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