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Article
Publication date: 20 May 2019

Antonios Panagiotakopoulos

This study aims to explore whether employer action may contribute towards reducing in-work poverty. Essentially, the study examines the extent to which small firm owners…

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264

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore whether employer action may contribute towards reducing in-work poverty. Essentially, the study examines the extent to which small firm owners accept as being among their core responsibilities the support of the working poor both from an ethical and financial perspective. It further explores the impact of employee-friendly policies to support the working poor on the organizational performance of small enterprises.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative approach was adopted consisting of 60 responses from 30 small firm owners and 30 employees. More specifically, the study draws on the empirical data collected through face-to-face semi-structured interviews with the firm owners of 30 low-paying enterprises operating in Greece and 30 employees working in those firms.

Findings

The findings reveal that employer measures to reduce in-work poverty such as systematic training, travel allowance, provision of free meals and retail vouchers, bonus schemes and other indirect financial rewards do enhance overall employee well-being, which, in turn, makes employees more engaged with their work and motivate them to “go the extra mile” for their employer. As a result, organizations appear to enjoy several benefits including less absenteeism and staff turnover, reduced errors in production and increased productivity.

Practical implications

The present analysis argues that a narrow focus by policymakers on both direct and indirect governmental measures (e.g. an increase of the minimum wage, childcare and housing support) to reduce in work-poverty could be problematic as there are employer instruments that could also have a direct and indirect impact on employee income that could be useful when thinking about how in-work poverty can best be addressed. The empirical work showed that the above-mentioned measures have the potential to bring various organizational benefits including increased staff loyalty, less absenteeism, improved customer service and increased productivity. Such findings indicate that there is a strong business case for employers to combat in-work poverty and provide “better” jobs to individuals.

Originality/value

The emphasis of research around in-work poverty has been placed predominantly on welfare state measures to support the working poor, whereas the contribution of employers has been ignored. The present study fills this knowledge gap by leading to a better understanding of whether there is a business case for employers to fight in-work poverty.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 40 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

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493

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Strategic HR Review, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1475-4398

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Article
Publication date: 6 May 2020

Antonios Panagiotakopoulos

The study explores the reasons why talented people leave Greece and go abroad using a qualitative approach to data collection in order to get a deep understanding on the…

Abstract

Purpose

The study explores the reasons why talented people leave Greece and go abroad using a qualitative approach to data collection in order to get a deep understanding on the actual reasons of brain drain in Greece, which affects the sustainability of domestic businesses and the overall economic development of the country.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative approach was adopted consisting of 80 interviews with business and IT professionals, healthcare professionals and academics of various disciplines that live and work in the United Kingdom, Germany, United States and Australia. Data were collected over a three-year period (May 2015–May 2018).

Findings

The results showed that the vast majority of respondents decided to leave their home country due to the prevalent cultural mindset of most Greek citizens, government policymakers and employers in Greece. In particular, 65% of respondents decided to live and work abroad due to the deep crisis of social values in the country and the high political corruption, while just 35% pointed to purely financial and other work-related reasons (e.g. low salaries, poor working conditions, no employment prospects, lack of job security) as the key ones for leaving the country. Essentially, the respondents argued that the individualist cultural values that have been predominant in the Greek society for years now have become evident in political action causing several problems such as social injustice and poverty.

Research limitations/implications

The findings have important implications both for those who hold governmental posts and the remaining citizens of Greece. Both government officials and citizens should re-examine their roles, values and ideals. The blame for the extensive brain drain in the country cannot be put only on the political parties that ruled the country during the last decades; the people who elected them are also responsible. The country seems to remain trapped in a crisis of social values that parents and the formal education system in Greece have cultivated for years now. In that respect, formal education in the country should be transformed radically in order to act as an important agency inculcating the new generations with a sense of duty in shaping a democratic political culture that emphasizes equality and condemns egalitarian practices.

Originality/value

The scant evidence around this topic is based on quantitative research that fails to explore in much depth the reasons of brain drain in the country. Previous studies revealed that the phenomenon of brain drain in Greece has been predominantly caused by the poor financial performance of the country during the last decade. This has been further supported by the claims of several policymakers who argue that the Greek crisis has been a fiscal one. However, the present study sheds new light and unmasks the root cause of brain drain in Greece stressing that the country essentially faces a crisis of values and a corrupted civic culture.

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World Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, vol. 16 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-5961

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Article
Publication date: 27 March 2020

Antonios Panagiotakopoulos

This study aims to explore the impact of management training on organizational performance in the small business context to evaluate whether formal management learning…

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1176

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the impact of management training on organizational performance in the small business context to evaluate whether formal management learning interventions bring organizational benefits to small enterprises.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative approach was adopted consisting of 100 interviews with small firm owners/managers and employees working in 50 Greek small enterprises operating in the manufacturing and services sectors. Participant firms consisted of 25 small enterprises (9 manufacturing firms and 16 firms in the services sector) whose owners/managers have completed various formal training interventions (i.e. accredited seminars and workshops, business and management courses, etc.,) and 25 small enterprises (16 manufacturing firms and 9 firms in the services sector) whose owners/managers have not completed any sort of formal business training and have never attended formal management courses.

Findings

The findings revealed that management training in small businesses had a positive impact on organizational performance. In particular, those respondents that completed formal training interventions argued that their firms achieved increased profitability during 2017 and 2018; improved staff productivity; very low staff turnover rate; and enhanced staff satisfaction and motivation compared with the less-trained owners of small firms in the same sector. The participants pointed out that their formal education in business and management has enabled them to realize the importance of employee learning and job design for staff motivation, whereas it has helped them to manage change more effectively.

Practical implications

The present findings have major implications for practitioners (i.e. small firm owners/managers), as they point to a positive link between management training and organizational performance, thus encouraging them to invest in their self-development.

Originality/value

The existing evidence around the impact of management training on firm performance has been based mostly on quantitative research in large organizations. However, the available empirical studies fail to explore in-depth how formal management training can help smaller enterprises achieve improved organizational performance. Against this background, the present study sheds new light on this area.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 32 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

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Article
Publication date: 18 January 2013

Antonios Panagiotakopoulos

The purpose of this paper is to describe how strategic human resource management has transformed the fortunes of three Greek micro‐enterprises.

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1450

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe how strategic human resource management has transformed the fortunes of three Greek micro‐enterprises.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper explains the problems faced by Mina mini‐market, Franco leather manufacturing and Yiannis Hair Care, and how they overcame them.

Findings

The paper highlights the key role that training can play in improving product quality and customer service and setting a struggling company back on the track to success.

Practical implications

The paper reveals that training can go hand in hand with new bonus schemes, employee empowerment and better conditions of employment.

Social implications

The paper details a number of approaches that small companies can adopt to help them to survive in a challenging economic context.

Originality/value

The paper recounts how three Greek micro‐businesses have achieved organizational change against the background of difficult economic circumstances.

Details

Human Resource Management International Digest, vol. 21 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-0734

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Article
Publication date: 8 February 2013

Antonios Panagiotakopoulos

The purpose of this paper is to try to understand the main motivational forces, from the employees' point of view, that direct staff behavior in small firms within a…

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6607

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to try to understand the main motivational forces, from the employees' point of view, that direct staff behavior in small firms within a country that suffers from a severe financial crisis. The study will identify the main factors affecting staff motivation at a period where the financial rewards are kept to the minimum, with the purpose of helping small firm owners create working environments that stimulate employee performance.

Design/methodology/approach

In order to explore the impact of various contextual variables on staff motivation, 65 structured personal interviews were conducted with employees working in Greek small firms that showed an interest to participate in the study. The empirical work took place in Greece during September‐December 2011 and the respondents consisted of workers employed in 20 small firms (i.e. firms employing from 5 to 50 workers) of the Greek services sector, as well as the manufacturing industry. The interview questions looked at various factors affecting staff motivation, such as quality of supervision, financial rewards, job design, training and development opportunities, social relations with co‐workers etc. The data analysis involved descriptive, hierarchical coding based on a priori codes identified from previous theory and grounded codes that emerged from new observations.

Findings

The changing nature of the international business environment has placed an increasing emphasis on the importance of effective human resource practices for firm success, including the importance of the “psychological contract” (i.e. the perceptions of the employee and employer of what their mutual informal obligations are towards each other) within the employment relationship.

Originality/value

Human resource management plays a vital role in ensuring the promotion of business success and managing change. This involves paying attention to the “psychological contract” and the establishment of expectations and obligations with all groups of employees within the organization. This paper explores the impact of various contextual variables on staff motivation from the employees' perspective.

Details

Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7282

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Article
Publication date: 6 May 2014

Antonios Panagiotakopoulos

The purpose of the paper is to present a viewpoint based on an empirical study conducted by the author, which explored the motivational techniques used by 30 chief…

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4062

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to present a viewpoint based on an empirical study conducted by the author, which explored the motivational techniques used by 30 chief executive officers in the context of an advancing economy like Greece that faces a severe financial crisis and evaluated the impact of such motivational tools on staff performance.

Design/methodology/approach

The viewpoint is based on a quantitative survey of 30 Greek large organizations involving the leaders of the firms and 113 workers. In all, 143 responses were collected concerning the main motivational techniques used by the participant leaders and their impact on employee behavior.

Findings

Overall, the findings showed that in the short-term, both motivational models (i.e. “inspirational” versus “fear”) may lead to effective organizational performance. However, the main difference appears to be related to the long-term impact of each model on firm performance. In particular, the findings indicated that “fear motivation” is more likely to lead to poor firm performance in the long-run compared to “inspirational motivation” due to increased staff absenteeism and turnover.

Practical implications

The core implication of the study is that “fear motivation” should be reconsidered by business leaders, as the particular motivational approach adopted has been based on a limited understanding around its overall impact on employee performance. As the analysis revealed, a motivational model focused around empowerment, trust and individual development may lead to better organizational results.

Originality/value

It informs the existing management literature about the impact of different motivational patterns on employee performance, where our knowledge is limited.

Details

Strategic Direction, vol. 30 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0258-0543

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Article
Publication date: 6 May 2014

Antonios Panagiotakopoulos

The aim of this paper is to investigate the extent to which post-secondary educational institutions in Greece have incorporated into their curriculum modules related to

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701

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to investigate the extent to which post-secondary educational institutions in Greece have incorporated into their curriculum modules related to occupational stress management in order to equip graduates with the required knowledge to cope with the stress caused by the precarious and intensified nature of contemporary jobs.

Design/methodology/approach

In the present study, extensive secondary data analysis was undertaken, which was complemented by an empirical quantitative survey. Regarding the secondary data analysis, an in-depth examination of all the available core and elective modules was undertaken in 150 programs of 35 Greek post-secondary educational institutions. The analysis involved the detailed examination of the curriculum content across 20 disciplines. As for the empirical part of the study, a self-administered questionnaire survey was used involving 100 students across the 20 selected disciplines.

Findings

The findings revealed that in Greek post-secondary education there is minimal systematic training provision for students around work-related stress management. The results show that stress management education is not incorporated in the curriculum as part of a key skills development scheme (either in the form of stand-alone modules or embedded in the curriculum) in most disciplines, which raises questions on the contribution of educational institutions in developing graduate employability.

Research limitations/implications

The study argues that there is an immediate need for post-secondary educational institutions across the country to develop relevant modules around managing occupational stress in order to respond to society's contemporary needs. To this end, the study argues that stress management training should be introduced in all VET and HEIs in Greece in the form of compulsory, stand-alone modules across all disciplines. The module should cover at least three main thematic areas: symptoms of work-related stress; impact of stress on individuals and organizations; and ways to cope with occupational stress.

Practical implications

The present study is particularly relevant to education policy makers throughout the world, due to the high levels of organizational change and uncertainty generated by the present global financial crisis and recession. Stress at work is likely to remain a “hot” topic in the agenda of government officials across the world, and finding ways to cope with occupational stress is likely to become a key challenge of post-secondary education.

Originality/value

Despite the importance of stress management training for graduate employability, very few studies have been conducted around that topic. This work comes to fill a significant knowledge gap in relation to the nature and extent of occupational stress management training provision for students in the context of post-secondary education.

Details

On the Horizon, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1074-8121

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 30 March 2012

Antonios Panagiotakopoulos

Skills are increasingly identified by policy makers throughout the world as a central means to address social and economic challenges. The present study aims to look

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2058

Abstract

Purpose

Skills are increasingly identified by policy makers throughout the world as a central means to address social and economic challenges. The present study aims to look specifically at the Greek economy and evaluate through an extensive literature review the effectiveness of skill development strategies adopted by small manufacturing firms as a result of their chosen business strategy. The study seeks to explore whether the existing skill development strategies can ensure the future viability of small firms or not.

Design/methodology/approach

Various types of secondary data were used in this study (e.g. journal articles, books, government publications including industry statistics and reports) to outline the importance of a high‐skills strategy if living standards in advancing economies like Greece are to be improved and critically evaluate the existing skill development strategies of small industrial firms.

Findings

The study argues that the low‐skills strategy favored by most Greek small industrial firms can no longer ensure their survival. Therefore, a number of policy measures should be put forward to encourage small firm owners to move towards a high‐skills business model.

Practical implications

The study helps policy makers to take the required action in order to create a business environment in Greece that encourages the adoption of a high‐skills, high‐quality product strategy by small firm owners.

Originality/value

The study brings new insights around the effectiveness of cost‐cutting strategies in the context of an advancing country.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 33 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

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Article
Publication date: 31 August 2012

Antonios Panagiotakopoulos

The present study seeks to investigate how small firm owners' “poaching” concerns could be overcome so that workforce skills development could be stimulated in such firms.

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1056

Abstract

Purpose

The present study seeks to investigate how small firm owners' “poaching” concerns could be overcome so that workforce skills development could be stimulated in such firms.

Design/methodology/approach

The study draws on case‐study work in two small firms in Greece. The data collection tools involved secondary data (e.g. company reports) and in‐depth personal interviews with the two firm owners and seven employees.

Findings

The empirical data revealed that owners in small firms may enhance staff loyalty significantly by placing much emphasis on their management style, as well as by creating a “friendly” atmosphere at work. The interviews indicated that employees in such enterprises seem to place much value on aspects of their working lives other than payment. This includes a supportive and competent owner, increased job autonomy and responsibility, involvement in decision making and a harmonious working climate with few conflicts.

Research limitations/implications

Further empirical studies with a quantitative orientation conducted both in Greece and in other countries could form the basis for generalizing the conclusions of the present study, as well as for insightful cross‐country comparisons with the purpose of identifying ways to stimulate workforce skills development.

Practical implications

The data showed that employees are not willing to risk a “family” atmosphere for more money for fear of losing a satisfying working climate. Such findings indicate that the way employees are managed in small firms requires much more attention by firm owners and a more central place in policy interventions if decision makers are to help such enterprises face the challenges of the future.

Originality/value

The paper provides new insights in an under‐researched area. Specifically, it informs the existing literature on how employee “poaching”, which acts as a key barrier to staff training and learning in the small business context, could be reduced.

Details

Industrial and Commercial Training, vol. 44 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0019-7858

Keywords

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