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Fosters Bakery puts HR in the mix: Plain-speaking approach to employee relations

David Pollitt (David Pollitt)

Human Resource Management International Digest

ISSN: 0967-0734

Article publication date: 13 October 2014




This paper aims to relate how “good” human resources (HR) practice is characterized in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and what the drivers are for adopting this good practice. This paper explores methods for measuring the impact of HR practices that are helpful and realistic in the context of an SME.


This paper studies practices at a family-owned bakery. The study takes the form of an action-research project using semi-structured interviews, participant observation on the factory floor and analysis of company documentation in the diagnosis phase. It reflects action interventions that have informed the findings, together with post-project semi-structured interviews with key actors three years after the completion of the project.


Discovers that the drivers of good HR practice are size, market position, external “coercive networks”, presenting issues, the ideology of the managing director and the energy of an HR champion.

Practical implications

Demonstrates that the impact of “good” HR practice can be best evaluated in SMEs through one-shot cost-based metrics or more strategic qualitative measures.


Develops an original model to show the relationship between the drivers, the HR practices adopted and measurable outcomes. Makes an important contribution to the debate about HRM in SMEs and has practical value for informing the development of good HR practice in SMEs.



Pollitt, D. (2014), "Fosters Bakery puts HR in the mix: Plain-speaking approach to employee relations", Human Resource Management International Digest, Vol. 22 No. 7, pp. 15-17.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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