Matlay, H. (2009), "Editorial", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 16 No. 3. https://doi.org/10.1108/jsbed.2009.27116caa.001Download as .RIS
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Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Volume 16, Issue 3
There exists a considerable body of specialist knowledge which focuses upon various aspects of small business and enterprise development. As a long standing researcher and contributor to this area of academic endeavour, I watched this topic grow from relatively modest beginnings into a well-rounded and mature area of multidisciplinary research. Most observers and commentators agree that our topic of applied research is now well established and that it now commands an important position in the scholarly community. I have recently attended a number of national and international conferences on entrepreneurship and related aspects and have noticed a substantial increase in both the quantity and the quality of papers presented. At least a proportion of these conference papers will eventually be converted into articles and sent to a growing number of academic and practitioner journals. It is no longer possible to attend all, or even most, of the conferences and workshops on entrepreneurship and small business management and perhaps even more difficult to keep up with developments in this rapidly expanding field of research. As an editor, I try to attend the important national and international events that relate to the stated mission of our journal. Such events provide opportunities to network and to meet with policy makers and practitioners as well as to evaluate new and innovative research in entrepreneurship. Unfortunately, however, related costs can sometimes prove prohibitive and can be symptomatic of the “conference culture” of contemporary academic life. Expensive and exotic locations rarely deliver value for money in terms of quality and innovative research dissemination.
The richness of entrepreneurship and small business research is evident in this issue. In the first paper, Mark D. Griffiths, Lisa Gundry, Jill Kickul and Angeles Muñoz Fernandez focus upon innovative echology as a precursor to entrepreneurial growth. The authors found that government and the economic environment encourage innovation ecology. Having resources at the research and development (R&D) level as well as human capital and early seed funding emerged as key indicators of innovation. Increased R&D and the availability of a highly skilled labour force, supported by private and public venture capital funding, can contribute to strong national innovation ecology that leads to the creation of new business ideas and growth opportunities. In the second paper, Thierry Burger-Helmchen evaluates the innovative/entrepreneurial capabilities of small firms that operate in high-technology industries. In this context, “plural entrepreneurship”, which is typical in high-tech start-ups, emerged as an important determinant of early organizational success. In the next contribution, Göran Svensson and Janice M. Payan critically review the terminology used by various researchers in relation to businesses that are international from inception. The authors raise issues related to “academic protectionism” and “academic myopia” and suggest that the wide variety of related terms could be usefully consolidated within the concept of “early internationalizing firms”. Craig C. Julian and Yunus Ali evaluate the impact that various incentives can have upon the market performance of Australian export ventures. The results of their research study indicate that the export performance of Australian ventures was positively influenced by export incentives and the opportunity to diversify into new markets. In the fifth contribution to this journal issue, Petter Gottschalk and Jan Terje Karlsen present a four-stage model for promoting knowledge management technologies in law firms. The authors found that most of the law firms in their research sample were positioned at the third stage of “what-they-know” systems within “lawyer-to-information” applications. They suggest that law firms are undergoing significant changes and are emerging as knowledge organizations in the legal business environment. Since knowledge is their strategic resource that must be managed to achieve profitable growth, the recruitment and development of lawyers becomes critical for success in modern law firms.
In the sixth paper, Paul Harrigan, Elaine Ramsey and Patrick Ibbotson examine the role of internet technologies in the customer relationship management (CRM) activities of Irish small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It appears that SMEs which operate in international markets tend to place greater emphasis on e-CRM and are also reaping greater benefits, including enhanced customer service, reduced business cost, increased sales and improved profitability. In the seventh contribution, Oliver Masakure, Spencer Henson and John Cranfield assess the financial performance of micro-enterprises in Ghana by applying the resource-based theory of the firm. In this context, the authors test if firm-specific resources dominate sector and market-wide effects and how these affect microenterprise performance. It emerges that factors embodied in firm-specific resources cam impact enterprise performance. In addition, sector/market factors also play a role and this would suggest that the interaction between microenterprise, sector and market factors helps explain enterprise performance. In the next paper, Jodyanne Kirkwood investigates whether entrepreneurs realised their growth aspirations for their service sector businesses in five years from inception. Most entrepreneurs in her research sample claim to have achieved growth in sales through good reputation, attention to customer service, diversification and the employment of quality staff. Interestingly, fewer achieved their aspired growth in employee numbers, mainly due to difficulties in employing and managing staff, skill shortages and a tight labour market. Sari Roininen and Håkan Ylinenpää set out to identify how different modes of resource configuration, entry strategy and product/market characteristics can affect new ventures’ start-up processes and outcomes in terms of firm growth and revenues. The authors found that venture creation processes are not uniform but dependent on situational and contextual factors. In the “Points of view” feature paper, Felicity Kelliher and Leana Reinl discuss the resource-based approach for exploring micro-firm management practice, as conceptualised by the relevant specialist literature. Following a comprehensive literature review, the authors propose a “resource taxonomy of micro-firm management practice”, based upon factor interaction and the interrelationship between each resource in the micro-firm environment. The stated purpose of this taxonomy is to assist in the analysis of management practices in a micro-firm context.
Finally, I would like to thank all those who made this issue possible: authors, referees and advisers, Ruth Heppenstall and Andrew G. Smith, as well as the Emerald Group employees who work behind the scene to ensure a quality and timely publication.