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The hybrid identity of micro enterprises: Contrasting the perspectives of community pharmacies’ owners-managers and employees

Francisco G. Nunes (Human Resources and Organizational Behavior Department, ISCTE-IUL, Lisbon, Portugal)
Janet E. Anderson (Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, King’s College London, London, UK)
Luis M. Martins (BRU-IUL, Human Resources and Organizational Behavior Department, ISCTE-IUL, Lisbon, Portugal)
Siri Wiig (Department of Health Studies, University of Stavanger, Stavanger, Norway)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 20 February 2017

370

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of ownership of community pharmacies on the perception of organizational identity and its relationships with organizational performance.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey was carried out on a sample of pharmacists working in community pharmacies in Portugal. The sample comprised 1,369 pharmacists, of whom 51 percent were owner-managers. Measures of pharmacies’ normative (community health oriented) and utilitarian (business oriented) identities, identity strength (clear and unifying), substantive (stockholder focused) and symbolic (society focused) performance were included.

Findings

Both owners and employed pharmacists rated the normative identity of pharmacies higher than the utilitarian identity. Compared with employed pharmacists, owners perceive a lower level of utilitarian identity, the same level of normative identity, and higher levels of identity strength. Normative identity and identity strength predicted symbolic performance. Normative and utilitarian identities and identity strength predicted substantive performance. The relationship between utilitarian identity and substantive performance was significant among owner pharmacists but not among employed pharmacists.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations include the use of perceptive measures and the focus on the individual level of analysis.

Practical implications

In order to improve pharmacies’ performance, pharmacists who manage community pharmacies are challenged to reconcile tensions arising from the co-existence of business and community health identities and from their own agency (self-serving) and stewardship (altruistic) motives.

Originality/value

This study draws on institutional, identity and stewardship theories to understand how pharmacists, owners and employees, view the identity of community pharmacies and how identity relates to organizational performance.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This study was funded by Ordem dos Farmacêuticos. The views expressed in the study represent those of the authors without any influence from the funding body. The authors are grateful to Peter Foreman (College of Business, Illinois State University) and M. Pina e Cunha (Nova School of Business and Economics) for their comments on previous drafts of this work. The authors do not have any conflict of interest related to this research.

Citation

Nunes, F.G., Anderson, J.E., Martins, L.M. and Wiig, S. (2017), "The hybrid identity of micro enterprises: Contrasting the perspectives of community pharmacies’ owners-managers and employees", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 34-53. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSBED-05-2016-0069

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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