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Article
Publication date: 18 May 2015

Helen Lingard, Michelle Turner and Sara Charlesworth

The purpose of this paper is to compare the quality of work-life experiences of workers in construction firms of differing sizes and explored the work conditions and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to compare the quality of work-life experiences of workers in construction firms of differing sizes and explored the work conditions and circumstances that impact upon the work-life experiences of workers in small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Australian construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected in two stages. First, data from a sub-set of construction industry workers were extracted from a large scale survey of workers in Victoria, Australia (the VicWAL survey). The survey measured work-life interference using the Australian Work and Life Index (AWALI). Next a subset of survey respondents was identified and interviewed to gain more detailed explanatory information and insight into work-life experiences.

Findings

The survey results indicated that respondents who reported working for a construction firm with between 16 and 99 employees reported significantly higher AWALI scores (indicating high work-life interference) than workers in organisations employing 15 or less or more than 100 workers. The follow-up interviews revealed that workers in small construction organisations were managed directly and personally by the business owner/manager and able to access informal work-life supports that were provided on an “as needs” basis. In comparison workers in medium-sized firms perceived higher levels of work pressure and an expectation that work would be prioritised over family life.

Research limitations/implications

The research shows that the findings of work-life balance research undertaken in large construction organisations cannot be generalised to SMEs. Organisation size should also be treated as an important variable in work-life balance research in construction.

Practical implications

The research suggests that a better understanding of how workers in SME construction firms experience work-life balance is important in the design and development of work-life balance programs. In particular the challenges faced by workers as companies grow from SMEs require careful consideration and management.

Originality/value

Previous research has focused on the work-life balance experiences of employees in large construction firms. Little was previously known about the experiences of workers in SME construction firms. The research provides new insight into the work-life experiences of construction workers in organisations of varying sizes.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 22 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2009

J. Rodney Turner, Ann Ledwith and John Kelly

Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) play an important role in the economy, in terms of employment and their contribution to national wealth. A significant proportion of…

Abstract

Purpose

Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) play an important role in the economy, in terms of employment and their contribution to national wealth. A significant proportion of that contribution comes from innovation. SMEs are also the engine for future growth in the economy. Project management has a role to play in managing that innovation and growth. The purpose of this paper is to find the extent to which SMEs use projects, project management and the tools of project management, and to determine what differences there are by size of company and industry.

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire was developed to examine the extent to which small firms carry out projects, the resources they employ, the way they measure project success and the tools and techniques that they use. The questionnaire was answered by 280 companies from a range of industries and sizes.

Findings

It is found that companies of all sizes spend roughly the same proportion of turnover on projects, but the smaller the company, the smaller their projects, the less they use project management and its tools. Surprisingly, hi‐tech companies spend less on projects than lo‐tech or service companies, but have larger projects and use project management to a greater extent. They also use the gadgets of project management to a greater extent.

Research limitations/implications

It is concluded that SMEs do require less‐bureaucratic versions of project management, perhaps with different tool sets than the more traditional versions designed for medium‐sized or large projects, and with different versions for medium, small and micro projects. For all firms, the important success factors are client consultation; planning, monitoring and control; and resource allocation are also identified.

Originality/value

The findings suggest the need for further research into the nature of those “lite” versions of project management designed for SMEs.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 4 March 2014

Mark A. Harris and Karen P. Patten

This paper's purpose is to identify and accentuate the dilemma faced by small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who use mobile devices as part of their mobility business…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper's purpose is to identify and accentuate the dilemma faced by small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who use mobile devices as part of their mobility business strategy. While large enterprises have the resources to implement emerging security recommendations for mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, SMEs often lack the IT resources and capabilities needed. The SME mobile device business dilemma is to invest in more expensive maximum security technologies, invest in less expensive minimum security technologies with increased risk, or postpone the business mobility strategy in order to protect enterprise and customer data and information. This paper investigates mobile device security and the implications of security recommendations for SMEs.

Design/methodology/approach

This conceptual paper reviews mobile device security research, identifies increased security risks, and recommends security practices for SMEs.

Findings

This paper identifies emerging mobile device security risks and provides a set of minimum mobile device security recommendations practical for SMEs. However, SMEs would still have increased security risks versus large enterprises who can implement maximum mobile device security recommendations. SMEs are faced with a dilemma: embrace the mobility business strategy and adopt and invest in the necessary security technology, implement minimum precautions with increased risk, or give up their mobility business strategy.

Practical implications

This paper develops a practical list of minimum mobile device security recommendations for SMEs. It also increases the awareness of potential security risks for SMEs from mobile devices.

Originality/value

This paper expands previous research investigating SME adoption of computers, broadband internet-based services, and Wi-Fi by adding mobile devices. It describes the SME competitive advantages from adopting mobile devices for enterprise business mobility, while accentuating the increased business risks and implications for SMEs.

Details

Information Management & Computer Security, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-5227

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2000

Andrew L. Friedman, Samantha Miles and Cameron Adams

Small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) are under increasing pressure to address environmental issues from a range of sources, including legislation, supply chain, trade…

Abstract

Small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) are under increasing pressure to address environmental issues from a range of sources, including legislation, supply chain, trade associations and customers. Addressing environmental awareness, not to mention sustainability, is a complex issue for SMEs, exacerbated by a lack of time, resources and environmental expertise. Consequently, many initiatives have been developed to direct and support SMEs. This paper is concerned with an initial evaluation of one such initiative based on a grounded theory approach. This process highlights the practical issues SMEs face when trying to implement environmental issues as workable company policies. A “gap” between developers and users in terms of the achievable outcomes perceived and obtained from such initiatives is also highlighted. To date, little has been written about the problems SMEs face in addressing environmental issues. This paper attempts to highlight some of these problems and, more importantly, promote further debate and discussion.

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 7 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 November 2001

Jimmy Hill and Len Tiu Wright

Considers an area of growing importance in marketing research. Small to medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) are continuing to play an increasing role in the development of…

Abstract

Considers an area of growing importance in marketing research. Small to medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) are continuing to play an increasing role in the development of western economies. Puts forward the argument that existing approaches to conducting marketing research in SMEs are rooted in the big firm mindset and, therefore, in positivist thinking, tending to focus mainly on survey methods. Examines the various orientations that predominate in and shape the SME context. Develops a research position with a syncretised qualitative research methodology outlined and applied to a research project carried out by one of the authors into 57 small firms in the UK. All of the orientations of the SMEs appeared rooted, to a large extent, in one or more highly influential individuals who fashion the culture and direction of these firms. Argues for an approach to research in SMEs that recognises the various influencing orientations including the impact on marketing research and the role of the entrepreneurial individual.

Details

Marketing Intelligence & Planning, vol. 19 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-4503

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2000

Elizabeth Barnett and John Storey

Fifty managers from five highly innovative medium‐sized enterprises were interviewed in depth about their experience of innovation. In order to deepen and enrich our…

Abstract

Fifty managers from five highly innovative medium‐sized enterprises were interviewed in depth about their experience of innovation. In order to deepen and enrich our understanding of these experiences, respondents were asked to reconstruct their insights in narrative form. Following a careful analysis of the transcripts, it was found that three interlocking themes recurred in each of the cases. First, each of the firms had creatively configured their customer relationships in order to secure long‐term resourcing in both financial and knowledge terms. Secondly, they saw innovation as part of their long‐term organisational evolution. Thirdly, they gave priority to human resource development issues, and they viewed this stance as necessary in order to underpin the other two elements.

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 7 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 18 September 2017

George Denny-Smith and Martin Loosemore

The purpose of this paper is to explore the barriers to entry for Indigenous businesses into the Australian construction industry.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the barriers to entry for Indigenous businesses into the Australian construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

A national survey was conducted with 33 Indigenous businesses operating in the Australian construction industry.

Findings

The findings show that Indigenous enterprises face similar challenges to many small non-Indigenous enterprises wishing to enter the industry. These include adjusting to unique construction industry cultures and practices, breaking into existing business networks and building social capital and being under-cut by industry incumbents and competitors when tendering for projects. These barriers are similar to those faced by other non-Indigenous social enterprises, although Indigenous enterprises do appear to experience relatively greater difficulty in starting-up their businesses and in securing sufficient capital, finance and assistance to enable them to scale-up and tender for normal work packages at a competitive price.

Research limitations/implications

The results are limited to Australian Indigenous businesses. The survey does not allow a comparison of non-Indigenous and Indigenous businesses, although comparison of results with existing non-Indigenous research into small to medium-sized firms in construction does allow some tentative insights. These need to be explored further.

Practical implications

These results indicate that there are significant barriers to be addressed within the Australian construction industry if government indigenous procurement policies are to achieve their stated aims of increasing the number of Indigenous firms in the industry. The results also have important implications for Indigenous businesses and for non-Indigenous firms operating in the Australian construction industry.

Social implications

This is an important gap in knowledge to address if countries like Australia are to redress the significant inequalities in income and health suffered by Indigenous populations.

Originality/value

In countries like Australia, with significant Indigenous populations, governments are seeking to address persistent disadvantage by using new social procurement initiatives to create quasi construction markets for Indigenous enterprises to participate in the construction industry. While there is an emerging body of research into the barriers facing mainstream small to medium-sized enterprises and, to a lesser extent, social enterprises in construction, the barriers to entry facing Indigenous construction enterprises have been largely ignored.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 24 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 13 July 2012

Dario Miocevic and Biljana Crnjak‐Karanovic

Global mindset has gained the respectable attention of international business scholars. Global mindset is a multidisciplinary concept comprised of cognitive and cultural…

Abstract

Purpose

Global mindset has gained the respectable attention of international business scholars. Global mindset is a multidisciplinary concept comprised of cognitive and cultural dimensions which both influence the international behavior and decision making of the firm. The key purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that global mindset is a crucial cognitive driver of the small and medium‐sized enterprise (SME) internationalization process. In order to do so, it aims to establish the link between global mindset and export performance outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a literature review, the conceptual model was developed. Data were obtained through survey questionnaire and analyzed using partial least squares (PLS) path modeling on the sample of 121 exporting SMEs in Croatia.

Findings

Findings of this study suggest that global mindset is positively, directly and significantly related to the export performance. Furthermore, the link between global mindset and export performance was assessed with the moderating effect of international experience (export diversity and export intensity) and findings reveal that there is no significant moderating effect present.

Research limitations/implications

Findings of this study suggest that global mindset is a crucial driver of the SME internationalization process as it exhibited a significant impact on the export performance outcomes. However, the focus of this paper was solely on the strategic (cognitive) dimension of global mindset. Future studies are yet to reveal the relevance of the integrated concept of global mindset.

Originality/value

The value‐added of this study is in the idea that market‐specific experience cannot be easily transferred to other foreign markets by utilizing global mindset. The moderating effect of international experience dimensions on relationship between global mindset and export performance was found to be insignificant. Eventually, findings suggest that global mindset is not related to the SME's international experience.

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Article
Publication date: 28 June 2011

Paul Lyons and Marty Mattare

The purpose of this paper is to make clear some of the issues and problems that confront the small to medium‐sized enterprise (SME) when it comes to the training and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to make clear some of the issues and problems that confront the small to medium‐sized enterprise (SME) when it comes to the training and development of employees. The paper aims to present a training methodology specifically for the small business.

Design/methodology/approach

The scenistic method, which involves trainees directly in the creation of strategies to improve performance in some domain, has been introduced in prior literature, and is proposed as particularly appropriate for the small business environment.

Findings

Very small enterprises provide workplace training in a significantly different manner than do larger organizations. Usually, the owner‐manager conducts whatever training there is and the training provided addresses only what is needed at the moment rather than be part of an overall training strategy. Workplace training correlates with employee satisfaction and lower turnover. However, often the very small enterprise does not have the resources to provide such a training program. This paper proposes an on‐the‐job training model for very small organizations.

Practical Implications

The scenistic method provides an inexpensive training opportunity that is tailored to specific needs. It may be conducted on site. It is flexible. Both the owner/manager and the employees play key roles in the training experience. It is experiential and hands on. And, it provides a model that is adaptable across several skill needs.

Originality/value

This paper introduces a training method to SMEs that can be easily adopted and used. Training and development of employees matters. Studies show that competitive advantage is compromised if employees are not adequately trained. Competition is demanding enough but when employees of the SME are less well equipped per knowledge and skills than their counterparts in larger businesses, the small firm is likely further disadvantaged. A trained, knowledgeable employee adds value to the firm and helps the firm to be more competitive. The scenistic method will allow the very small SME to effectively address these critical issues.

Details

Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal, vol. 25 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7282

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2006

Jia Chen

This article aims to present an overview of the historical development and current status of Chinese small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) examine major political…

Abstract

Purpose

This article aims to present an overview of the historical development and current status of Chinese small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) examine major political initiatives contributing to SMEs' development and draw out some experience from SME development practices in China.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is exploratory in nature, using archives of government documents and related statistics.

Findings

The article argues that the fundamental role of the market in allocating resources and the self‐operation status of SMEs should be respected, that it is imperative to encourage SMEs to optimise industrial structure, and that it is important to properly handle the government‐enterprise relations and bring the role of the government in macro control into full play so as to create a fair competitive environment for SMEs.

Practical implications

The Chinese experience of SME development is of great interest to policy‐makers and academics alike.

Originality/value

The article explores entrepreneurship and SME development in China from a policy‐making perspective.

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

Keywords

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