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How does directors’ remuneration affect SMEs’ performance?

Godfred Adjappong Afrifa (Business School, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, UK)
Oluseyi Oluseun Adesina (Business School, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, UK)

Review of Accounting and Finance

ISSN: 1475-7702

Article publication date: 14 May 2018




The purpose of this paper is to empirically explain the relationship between the remuneration levels of a sample of listed small and medium enterprise (SME) directors and firm performance. The paper also investigates whether deviations from the optimal directors’ remuneration level reduces firm performance.


The study uses a panel data regression analysis of 802 AIM-listed SMEs over an eight-year period (2005-2012).


Using a non-linear approach, the results show that an optimum director’s remuneration level is calculated by comparing the benefits and costs of director’s remuneration. Hence, the paper not only shows how directors’ remuneration level affects firm performance but it also extends the stream of knowledge by indicating how a deviation from the optimal point influences UK-listed SME performances. Moreover, the results show that the effect of directors’ remuneration on firm performance is greater during a financial crisis period.


Compared with previous literature on directors’ remuneration, this paper focuses on AIM-listed SMEs, and the author’s finding of a concave relationship between directors’ remuneration level and performance of leads them to recommend that firms, especially SMEs, should endeavour to determine the optimal level of directors’ remuneration to maximise performance.



Afrifa, G.A. and Adesina, O.O. (2018), "How does directors’ remuneration affect SMEs’ performance?", Review of Accounting and Finance, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 238-258.



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