Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Publication date: 8 August 2008


Matlay, H. (2008), "Editorial", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 15 No. 3. https://doi.org/10.1108/jsbed.2008.27115caa.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Volume 15, Issue 3

The richness and variety of topics, approaches and methodologies in small business and enterprise development research is evidenced by the 12 articles included in the third issue, volume 15 of JSBED. It is a general issue, dedicated to various aspects of this fast growing area of entrepreneurship research. By coincidence, a large proportion of the content is representative of quantitative methods and relatively large respondent samples that set out to generate generalisable results. The balance of articles represents various theoretical and in-depth, qualitative findings that are increasingly of interest to business consultants and support agencies. Reassuringly, I am informed that the content of this journal is increasingly cited by policy makers and government agencies in the UK, Eastern, Central and Western Europe as well as Australasia and North America. Furthermore, a number of advisors to governments in developing countries have also used our journal to inform policy making in industrialising nations. We aim to provide not only empirically rigorous articles that cater to main readership segments, including academics, students, policy makers and consultants, but also relevant papers of interest to entrepreneurs, small business owner/managers and the growing number of dedicated support agencies.

Considering the diversity of concepts and contexts as well as the heterogeneity of the sector which we aim to serve, ours is far from an easy or comfortable task: it takes determination, courage and commitment to pursue an agenda aimed at a growing and widening range of major as well as minor stakeholders. It would be far easier to concentrate narrowly upon the needs of academia and provide an outlet for a limited and highly theoretical body of interest. We could perhaps be a smaller journal, publishing no more than four to five articles per issue and enjoy the reputation of a theoretically restrictive outlet, highly rated amongst scholars but largely ignored in the business, support and policy making communities. Would we still enjoy the popularity and respect of our growing readership? Personally, I do not think that we would. I am also of the opinion that there is a place and a role for various types of journals, including theoretical, “cross-over” and practitioner publications. As an academic, researcher and writer, I aim to publish relevant articles in each journal category and to make a positive contribution to our topic of interest. As an Editor, I am most grateful to readers, contributors and members of the Editorial Board for their continuous support and encouragement. We are a flexible and dynamic group of individuals, who come together to serve a well-defined purpose and we will continue to publish high quality and empirically rigorous articles on a variety of topical as well as controversial aspects of small business and enterprise development.

In the opening feature of this issue, Paul Westhead identifies four types of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and provides a typology based on their exporting experience spectrum. In total, a random sample of 621 SMEs was surveyed at two points in “real time”, in order to investigate their propensity to export. The author provides interesting insights into exporting tendencies, and offers useful recommendations for policy-makers, practitioners and researchers. In the second paper Claver, Rienda and Quer investigate factors affecting the perceived risks of family firm executives in relation to international activities. The authors found that risk perceptions are inversely proportional with size and decrease with the presence of first generation family members. Interestingly, however, risk perceptions tend to increase as the family firm advances in its international commitment level and related activities. In the next article, Diamanto Politis evaluates the role of prior start-up experience as a source of entrepreneurial learning. The results of this study appear to confirm that there are important differences between habitual and novice entrepreneurs in coping with entrepreneurial learning at various stages in their firms’ life cycle. Lussier and Halabi examine business success factors affecting a sample of 145 small businesses operating in Chile. It emerges that in Chile small businesses tend not to make much use of professional advisers. In the fifth article, Temponi and Cui investigate the relationship between financial status, e-commerce components and Hispanic small businesses’ (HSBs) perceptions in relation to contracting with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The authors establish that financial status has no impact upon the pursuit of contracts with the USDA, but impacts on HSBs’ ability to secure such contracts. In comparison, e-commerce components appear not to have any role in a HSB’s ability to either pursue or secure USDA contracts. In the next paper, Arto Lindblom focuses upon the use of information sources by “contractually integrated” retail entrepreneurs. He found that the majority of these entrepreneurs relied upon external sources of information when making decisions at store level. Furthermore, the use of formal sources of information was more likely to increase sales levels than the usage of informal sources.

In the seventh article, Lester and Parnell explore organisational life cycle through an all-encompassing model. Results show that small businesses can be found not only in the “existence” and “survival” life cycle stages but also in the “decline” stage. In the next paper, Eriksson, Hultman and Naldi focus upon e-commerce development and usage in small businesses in Sweden. The authors found that small businesses in Sweden show remarkably high levels of e-commerce adoption. José Maria Cubillo-Pinilla investigates the influence of a multinational company upon its local supplier network. The results show the existence of knowledge transfer and related influence on the productivity of local suppliers. In the tenth article, Jeffrey Alstete concentrates upon pertinent aspects of entrepreneurial success. His findings show that entrepreneurs enjoy independence, freedom, job satisfaction and financial rewards. Long working hours, stress, risk and responsibilities were highlighted as negative aspects of entrepreneurship. Kropp and Zolin provide guidance to the formation and structure of new governmental entrepreneurial ventures in the USA. In the authors’ view, public and quasi-public enterprises may need to change their structure in order to be more effective and act entrepreneurially. In the last article in this issue, Helena Forsman focuses upon business development success. It emerges that success and failure are interlinked and can create either an upward success or downward failure spiral.

As always, a group of highly motivated and committed individuals have contributed directly or indirectly to the delivery of this issue. I am very grateful to contributors, referees and advisors, as well as to the production team at Emerald Publishing Group for their time, commitment and hard work.

Harry MatlayBusiness School, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK