Matlay, H. (2010), "Editorial", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 17 No. 3. https://doi.org/10.1108/jsbed.2010.27117caa.001Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Volume 17, Issue 3
Three years after the first signs of an impending international economic crisis began to emerge, a wide range of stakeholders are involved in the process of recovery from one of the longest and hardest recessions in recorded history. Until recently, however, very little was known, beyond anecdotal and media-manipulated evidence, about how small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) fared under the prevailing recessionary conditions. It is only now that accurate and valuable data are becoming available to those who are engaged in policy making, business support and academic research. Typically, much of the information emerging on the recent economic crisis, credit crunch and recession is historical or retrospective. The knowledge and lessons that can be gained from empirically rigorous dissemination can have deep and long-lasting effects upon crucial elements of small business and enterprise development at local, regional, national and international levels.
It would be useful to reflect, albeit briefly, upon what we are most likely to remember about this period of financial insecurity, economic decline and threat of unemployment. First, few predicted or even expected an early onset of recessionary conditions in the UK, continental Europe or North America. The intensity, depth and extent of the current recession do not appear to fit either the classic short- or long-cycle theories of economic “boom and bust”. Second, many systemic and regulatory failures have emerged, some of which relate to both macroeconomic policies and microeconomic support, including the regulation and/or supervision of banks and related financial institutions. Third, there are multiple causes underlining the current international crisis, involving more common as well as new elements relating to national and global business infrastructures. Fourth, there can be little doubt that the ongoing economic crisis will impact considerably upon future policy and its consequences will continue to reverberate for some time in government policy and intervention across both industrially developed and developing nations. As an international community of research, we have a duty to contribute to the relevant body of knowledge and ensure a better and wider understanding of both the causes and the effects of prevailing recessionary conditions on small business and enterprise development. The richness and variety of topics, approaches and methodologies in small business and enterprise development research is evidenced by the ten articles included in the third Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development issue, of volume 17.
In the first paper, Leonel Prieto, Lei Wang, Kim T. Hinrichs and Homero Aguirre-Milling test the direct and mediating effects of environmental and individual factors on the propensity for self-employment in the USA and Mexico. The authors found that the effectiveness of self-employment policy could be improved by better knowledge about mental schemata, resources and contexts. In the second paper, Irene Daskalopoulou and Anastasia Petrou focus upon entrepreneurs’ expectations regarding future growth by analyzing the relationship between information flows from networks and the perceived risk of decisions associated with the future size of a firm. The results presented by the authors suggest that networks are useful information mechanisms, but only if such information is specific to problem-solving processes. Furthermore, the better-informed entrepreneurs can forecast higher firm growth in the future. In the next paper, Durim Hoxha and Joan-Lluis Capelleras investigate the contribution of fast-growing firms to employment and the determinants of fast growth in Kosova. Their analysis suggest that the contribution of fast-growing firms to employment in Kosova is lower than that in Western and industrially developed countries. Fast growth is positively affected by specific human capital, intentions to grow and the ability to deal with external barriers. Alex Douglas, Jacqueline Douglas and John Davies report upon how a small, family-owned children’s play centre achieved competitive advantage through developing a differentiated service. Sustainable competitive advantage has been achieved in this case by utilising safety and work critical practices in order to strategically differentiate its service offering to discernable customers. In her conceptual paper, Mary Hardie reviews major influences that impact on innovation delivery, in the context of small Australian construction businesses. The author found that in this industry, the culture of aggressive competitive relations remains in place despite the recent trend towards more cooperative business arrangements. Small and sub-contractors tend to operate with little spare capacity and are restricted from participation in the benefits of the innovation strategies, unless they receive outside assistance.
In the sixth paper, Christian Simoni, Samuel Rabino and Lorenzo Zanni examine current patterns in the international marketing activities of Italian gold firms and compare these with the strategies adopted by their Indian competitors. It emerges that the competitive behaviour of Italian gold firms is primarily reactive, whereas their Indian competitors focus strategically on the expanding immigrant community. In the seventh paper, Rosa Nelly Trevinyo-Rodríguez and Nick Bontis develop a model of knowledge transfer which involves kinship ties and emotions in the context of family-based firms. The authors found that family traditions, ties and emotions tend to affect knowledge transfer, commitment and motivation of family members involved in family-based businesses. Next, Tanja Kontinen and Arto Ojala investigate how psychic distance affects the internationalization process, foreign market entry and entry mode choice of Finnish family SMEs operating in France. The authors argue that this type of firms prefer to follow a sequential process and favor indirect entry modes for entering the French market. The focus of the next paper is on Indian seed businesses and the factors that affect entrepreneurship in this sector. Sushil Kumar and Jabir Ali claim that an ability to build entrepreneurial teams with complementary skills, knowledge and experience is a critical success factor in the Indian agri-seed industry. In the final paper of this issue, Gerard McElwee and Ivan Annibal critically evaluate a farm support project which provides support, advice and an outreach facility for farmers in the Penwith District of Cornwall, UK. The scheme under investigation encompasses an integrated approach to providing business support to farmers. The range of support on offer includes, amongst others, sign-posting specialist advisers, facilitation of training assistance with grant applications and the development of relevant social capital.
In finalising this issue, I am pleased to acknowledge the continuous support of authors, referees, members of the Editorial Board and external advisors. I would also like to thank Andrew G. Smith and Ruth Heppenstall for their help and expert advice on various aspects relating to copy submission and journal publication.