Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 25 October 2011



Matlay, H. (2011), "Editorial", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 18 No. 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/jsbed.2011.27118daa.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Volume 18, Issue 4

As the world economy continues its recovery from recessionary conditions and the green shoots of small business growth maintain their hold, public attention is returning to issues relating to entrepreneurship and its impact upon local, regional, national and international markets. In both developed and developing economies as well as in countries in transition, governments once again promote entrepreneurship and new venture creation as the panacea to persistent socio-economic and political problems. It appears that hardly anyone cares to remember the negative headlines that dominated the media during the closing years of the previous decade. Recent statistics, published by prestigious sources of economic analysis, show slow but continuous growth, not only in service sectors but also in manufacturing and related industries. Considering that services tend to succumb last to recessionary conditions and to recover first, growth in manufacturing output represents both positive and encouraging news for the UK economy. For most business observers, the threat of a “double dip” in economic output appears to have been abated, at least for the time being.

In the UK, high fuel and energy prices are perceived to hinder growth in the small business sector. As a result of escalating prices, monthly inflation rates remain elevated and public confidence in economic recovery is not as high as in other leading economies within the Euro zone. This tends to have a negative effect upon spending in general and house prices in particular. To many amateur or populist commentators, house prices and the general state of the construction industry represent the true “barometer” of the national economy. Therefore, while inflation remains high and house prices stay low, the vast majority of the UK population can only express cautious optimism in relation to the much-publicised economic recovery in this country. The emergence of the Conservative – Liberal Democrat Coalition’s “Big Society” rhetoric, as opposed to the threat of real public spending cuts across the whole sector, seems to herald a new “Age of Austerity” reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher’s first term in office during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Similarly, the success of Cameron and Clegg’s strategy for economic recovery and growth appears to rely upon the revival of an “Enterprise Culture” and its focus on enterprising individuals at community level. Furthermore, there exists a clear official reliance, in the delivery of the Big Society targets, on enterprising graduates and new venture creation at local, regional and national levels. Thus, entrepreneurship in general, and entrepreneurship education in particular, are seen as important components of a long-term competitive strategy to foster an enterprise culture in which the role of education is primarily to develop enterprising individuals at all levels of the UK educational system.

This general issue includes ten contributions from academics and researchers working in a wide variety of contexts and economic backgrounds. In many ways, it is a celebration of the conceptual and contextual richness that both describes and defines our growing field of research. In the first article, Crossan, Ibbotson and Bell investigate differences between various non-profit businesses along a socio-economic continuum. Their focus is on non-profit organizations, which are classified as “social” in contrast with “social commercial” firms which are perceived as more entrepreneurial. The focus of the next paper is on the influence of an entrepreneur’s socio-cultural characteristics upon his/her firm’s entrepreneurial orientation. Altinay and Wang found that the educational attainment of an entrepreneur could make a positive impact on their firm’s entrepreneurial orientation. Similarly, the business experience of an entrepreneur also impacts positively on the firm’s entrepreneurial orientation. Interestingly, however, the religious beliefs of an entrepreneur do not have a significant role in their firms’ entrepreneurial orientation. In the next article, David Roach empirically examines product management as a set of boundary spanning capabilities by relating them to firm performance. The results of this study could potentially increase our understanding of how to allocate resources in order to improve small business performance. In the fourth paper, Bhaird and Lucey examine the financing of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) through a financial growth life cycle model. The authors found that distinct changes take place in the source of finance employed by SMEs over different periods of time. It emerges that, in this research study, respondents in the younger age category reported a relatively high usage of debt financing. In the next article, Paul and Boden evaluate current risk mitigation measures in the UK and how these might be improved. Their results show that trade credit could be a product of market demand or a function of strategic advantage. The authors claim that both regulatory measures and internal management regimes have failed to mitigate the risks for extending trade credit to SMEs operating in the UK.

In the sixth article, Mohr and Shoobridge focus upon the importance of ethnic workforce diversity for the internationalization of SMEs. The authors have identified a series of mechanisms that link ethnic workforce diversity to increased internationalization of SMEs. Next, Demirbas, Hussain and Matlay examine the barriers to innovation, as perceived and experienced by owner-managers of Turkish SMEs. It emerges that a lack of government research and development (R&D) policy represents a formal barrier to SME innovation in Turkey, while a sizeable and thriving underground economy acts as an informal barrier, to increase the cost of innovation In addition, a lack of appropriate sources of finance and inherent skill shortages emerged as significant variables to affect the innovation decisions of SME owner-managers in Turkey. In the next paper, Aodheen O’Donnell provides an empirically validated framework of small firm marketing activities. This framework could be used as a baseline against which the results of small business marketing strategies can be assessed. In the ninth article, Worku Birru explores the nature of cooperative relationships among competing leather shoe manufacturing firms in Addis Ababa. The author found that most firms operate in collaboration with other businesses at the same stage of a value chain. These firms use cooperation primarily in order to access financial and other tangible resources that are essential for supplementing their portfolio of internal capabilities. In the final contribution, Bill and Rhoden set out to identify and analyse sport and recreation small business owners’ experience of business support and advice. They identified a variety of general support and advice mechanisms, the provision of which seems to differ across various regions. Interestingly, specialised business support tends to occur mostly on an ad-hoc basis.

Finally, I would like to thank the contributors, referees, consultants and advisors who made possible the publication of this issue as well as the employees of Emerald Publishing Group who work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure its delivery, both in hard copy and in electronic version: their efforts and commitment is much appreciated.

Harry MatlayBirmingham City Business School, Birmingham, UK

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