(2000), "Editorial", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 6 No. 5. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijebr.2000.16006eaa.001Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited
The context of the small firm is usually considered within a rather parochial framework. Given that the characteristics of most small firms ensure that they remain based within the locality of their original start up site, and that most do not expand significantly beyond this, it can be tempting to develop a limited perception of the sector determined by national trends and policies. To remind that the sector has a dynamic which transcends national barriers, the sixth edition of the European Observatory for SMEs is about to be published. Like it's predecessors, the Observatory study is an independent report which offers a comprehensive overview of the situation and development of smaller firms in the EU and Switzerland. As such, it offers a fascinating insight into a range of issues which, whilst common to the member states, are dealt with from a variety of perspectives and initiatives.
This type of report is immensely useful. It expands our comprehension of how small firms operate in different EU economies, how various state policies and practices effect the development of smaller firms and how the owners of such firms manage their businesses within these differing contexts. Such reports serve to emphasise that the shape and structure of small firms in any economy are subject to both micro and macro issues which will combine to create specific development contexts. It is noticeable that much research into the small firm sector reflects national interests and to date, there is relatively little work on coherent international comparisons regarding the development small firm sectors.
As an international Journal, it is hoped that we are making some contribution to this debate by presenting papers which not only span a range of issues pertaining to small firm ownership and entrepreneurship but also consider such issues from different national perspectives. So, the paper by Sullivan and Margaritis makes a useful contribution to widening our comprehension of the processes involved in small firm ownership by considering an area of indigenous entrepreneurship, specifically at the role of the Maori people in New Zealand. To add some theoretical depth to our comprehension of the entrepreneurial process, Mathew Gorton raises some fascinating issues concerning the dichotomy which many of us utilise, perhaps often without due consideration, regarding the use of structure or agency in decisions pertaining to small firm performance. To add further depth to these arguments, the paper sites the critique within the philosophical work of Pierre Bourdieu, a debate rarely considered within mainstream discourse.
In Issue 6 of this volume, we return to an area which remains thought provoking, that is the "entrepreneurial personality". Hannu Littunen offers a distinctive analysis to add new ideas to this interesting debate. Finally, the paper by Ruth et al. focuses upon environmental issues within a small firm context. The impact of modern life and industry upon our environment is an area of considerable contemporary interest, but the debate largely focuses upon individual choices or corporate activity. Given the resistance to regulation by small firm sectors, compliance with environmental standards is a critical area of interest and it is surprising that so little attention has been afforded to it. Consequently, this paper makes a welcome addition to the debate and we would welcome further papers which address issues regarding internationalisation or environmental compliance.