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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2001

Lynn M. Martin and Harry Matlay

The current push for small firms to be “wired up to the digital marketplace” is evidenced by the number of initiatives targeting small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs…

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4558

Abstract

The current push for small firms to be “wired up to the digital marketplace” is evidenced by the number of initiatives targeting small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) to promote this activity. Like other governments worldwide, UK Online’s SME targets (together with the supporting DTI adoption ladder) exemplify the “conventional wisdom” view of a homogeneous small business sector, within which firms take an ordered, sequential progression on the route to Internet technology adoption. This approach is questioned by grounding the official rhetoric in the reality of organisational and operational complexity of this important sector of the UK economy. These initiatives are compared and contrasted with similar models of small firm development, most of which neglected to address the diverse nature of small firm needs. The authors recommend a more discriminant approach, focused upon factors such as firm size, age, managerial structure and information and communications technology adoption stages.

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Internet Research, vol. 11 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1066-2243

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Article
Publication date: 8 January 2018

Lynn M. Martin, Gemma Lord and Izzy Warren-Smith

This paper aims to use (in)visibility as a lens to understand the lived experience of six women managers in the headquarters of a large multinational organization in the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to use (in)visibility as a lens to understand the lived experience of six women managers in the headquarters of a large multinational organization in the UK to identify how “gender” is expressed in the context of organizational learning.

Design/methodology/approach

The researchers take a phenomenological approach via qualitative data collection with a purposeful sample – the six female managers in a group of 24. Data were collected through quarterly semi-structured interviews over 12 months with the themes – knowledge, interaction and gender.

Findings

Organizations seek to build advantage to gain and retain competitive leadership. Their resilience in a changing task environment depends on their ability to recognize, gain and use knowledge likely to deliver these capabilities. Here, gender was a barrier to effective organizational learning with women’s knowledge and experience often unseen and unheard.

Research limitations/implications

This is a piece of research limited to exploration of gender as other, but ethnicity, age, social class, disability and sexual preference, alone or in combination, may be equally subject to invisibility in knowledge terms; further research would be needed to test this however.

Practical implications

Practical applications relate to the need for organizations to examine and address their operations for exclusion based on perceived “otherness”. Gendered organizations cause problems for their female members, but they also exclude the experience and knowledge of key individuals as seen here, where gender impacted on effective knowledge sharing and cocreation of knowledge.

Social implications

The study offers further evidence of gendered organizations and their impacts on organizational effectiveness, but it also offers insights into the continues social acceptance of a masculinized normative model for socio-economic practice.

Originality/value

This exploration of gender and organizational learning offers new insights to help explain the way in which organizational learning occurs – or fails to occur – with visibility/invisibility of one group shaped by gendered attitudes and processes. It shows that organizational learning is not gender neutral (as it appears in mainstream organizational learning research) and calls for researchers to include this as a factor in future research.

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2004

Lynn M. Martin and Julie Abbott

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224

Abstract

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Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 7 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

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Article
Publication date: 6 June 2018

Lynn M. Martin, Izzy Warren-Smith and Gemma Lord

UK higher education has faced an unprecedented period of change due to multiple UK governmental policies over a short period – coupled with demographic change and the vote…

Abstract

Purpose

UK higher education has faced an unprecedented period of change due to multiple UK governmental policies over a short period – coupled with demographic change and the vote to leave the European Union. This pressures universities to meet third mission aims by engaging effectively with society and business, generating income in the process to address reduced funding. Support from the UK Government includes over 20 years of funding for universities to develop entrepreneurial structures and processes, termed entrepreneurial architecture (EA). While the government regularly collects data on funds generated through third mission activities, less is known about how EA is perceived by those inside the university. The purpose of this paper is to meet that gap by exploring the perspectives of those employed specifically as part of EA implementation, as knowledge exchange intermediaries.

Design/methodology/approach

The study takes a phenomenological approach to achieve deeper insights into those routines and norms resulting from the application of EA. This is a purposeful sample with what is reported to be an under-researched group (Hayter, 2016); those employed as internal knowledge intermediaries across 15 universities (two from each). These university employees are specifically charged with business engagement, knowledge exchange and research commercialization; their contracts are funded and designed as a part of the EA rather than for research or teaching. An initial pilot comprising four semi-structured interviews indicated suitable themes. This was followed up through a set of three interviews over 18 months with each participant and a mapping of EA components at each institution.

Findings

Despite EA strategies, the picture emerging was that universities had embedded physical components to a greater or lesser degree without effective social architecture, shown by conflicts between stated and actual routines and norms and by consistent barriers to third mission work. Power and perceived power were critical as participants felt their own worth and status was embedded in their senior manager’s status and power, with practical difficulties for them when he or she lost ground due to internal politics.

Research limitations/implications

The benefits of this study method and sample include deep insights into the perspectives of an under-reported group. The purposeful sample might be usefully expanded to include other countries, other staff or to look in depth at one institution. It is a qualitative study so brings with it the richness, insights and the potential lack of easy generalizability such an approach provides.

Practical implications

In designing organizations to achieve third mission aims, EA is important. Even where the structures, strategies, systems, leadership and culture appear to be in place; however, the resulting routines and norms may act against organizational aims. Those designing and redesigning their institutions might look at the experience suggested here to understand how important it is to embed social architecture to ensure effective actions. Measuring cultures and having this as part of institutional targets might also support better results.

Social implications

Governments in the UK have invested resources and funding and produced policy documents related to the third mission for over 20 years. However, the persistent gap in universities delivering on policy third mission aims is well documented. For this to change, universities will need to ensure their EA is founded on strong underlying supportive cultures. Knowledge sharing with business and community is unlikely when it does not happen in-house.

Originality/value

The study adds new knowledge about how EA is expressed at individual university level. The findings show the need for more research to understand those routines and norms which shape third mission progress in UK universities and how power relations impact in this context, given the pivotal role of the power exerted by the senior manager.

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International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, vol. 25 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2554

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 2003

Lynn M. Martin and Alison Halstead

This micro‐level view of information and communication technology (ICT)‐related decision‐making processes in particular female “knowledge” firms offers areas for further…

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804

Abstract

This micro‐level view of information and communication technology (ICT)‐related decision‐making processes in particular female “knowledge” firms offers areas for further review, research and discussion. Internally focused, these firms reflect earlier studies recommending support for female networking to develop competitive advantage, since fewer sources of ideas, advice, and information may mean that options are limited when problems arise outside previous organisational experience. ICT adoption relied on family and friends rather than professional support. Similarly, Internet use to scope the market or source information was also limited. Further research is suggested to explore management practices within established female‐run firms, and in firms run by teams rather than single owners, to develop deeper understanding of the processes at work and how to support change and development in such firms.

Details

Women in Management Review, vol. 18 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0964-9425

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2003

Lynn M. Martin and Harry Matlay

In this article, three established small‐ and medium‐sized enterprises provide qualitative case study evidence of the extent to which information communications technology…

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6498

Abstract

In this article, three established small‐ and medium‐sized enterprises provide qualitative case study evidence of the extent to which information communications technology can be embedded within a firm’s marketing strategy, from the earliest adoption stages to the integration of the Internet with key business functions. These case studies also provide insights into the innovative ways that can be used to reposition a firm, its marketing strategy, services and products, both within the national and the global marketplace. Established firms, in addition to new businesses and industries, could gain considerable competitive advantage from Internet usage, if they can achieve the right mix of managerial capacity and marketing focus in terms of image, brand and customer needs. Their human resource base could allow such firms to “reinvent” themselves, mainly by effectively accessing and embedding new knowledge. It emerged that organisational culture facilitates and supports the wider access and application of new knowledge through organisational learning mechanisms.

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Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 6 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2004

Lynn M. Martin

Within the small firms sector, the Web is anticipated to bring unprecedented new opportunities for business development and competitive advantage. The reality in small…

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8227

Abstract

Within the small firms sector, the Web is anticipated to bring unprecedented new opportunities for business development and competitive advantage. The reality in small firms, however, may be that lack of understanding of the value the Net may provide in the context of their own organisation, deters many owners from gaining such advantages. This paper looks at six cases of small hospitality firms. “E‐innovation” here represents innovative strategy enabling customers to do what best serves their purpose via information communications technology. These small hospitality firms have adopted the Web and used it; as a result they have changed business processes and personal expectations. Suggests that the current narrow focus on business growth or on technology alone seen in current initiatives may miss owners such as these who took up the Net for social and personal reasons but developed business uses alongside them. Recommends that an integrated hosting of such firms would provide better customer access, and therefore lead to benefits for such firms. Where targets are set for increases in tourism, it is also recommended that the Internet might play a part in developing such growth, if integrated and applied to the context of hospitality firms.

Details

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-6119

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Article
Publication date: 9 May 2008

Lynn M. Martin, Izzy Warren‐Smith, Jonathan M. Scott and Stephen Roper

This paper is an exploratory quantitative study aimed at providing the first overview of the incidence of female directors in UK companies, mapped against types of firms…

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4869

Abstract

Purpose

This paper is an exploratory quantitative study aimed at providing the first overview of the incidence of female directors in UK companies, mapped against types of firms. It provides a unique quantitative perspective on the types of companies with boards on which female directors serve.

Design/methodology/approach

A quantitative analysis of a newly constructed database based on data for all UK companies (using Companies House Financial Analysis Made Easy data) was carried out to explore overall data for board membership related to gender, resulting in a new typology to describe firms with female directors.

Findings

The data supports earlier partial studies suggesting male dominance continues at senior levels. Although female directors represented one in four directors in UK firms, most companies remain male dominated. Women directors are generally found in smaller firms and only one in 226 of larger firms have a majority of female directors. The service sector remains the main focus for female firms, both business services and other services.

Research limitations/implications

The study suggests that at the rate of progress achieved over the 2003‐2005 period, it will be the year 2225 before gender balance in company directorships is achieved in the UK. The study was based on Companies House data, where gender is a self‐reported variable; therefore, considerable work had to be done to identify the gender of directors in order to build the database. This is a limitation for others trying to assess female board membership. The study did not attempt to explain why these levels of female participation are observed – this is a necessary second step following this first analysis of the incidence of women on boards.

Originality/value

The data provides the first comprehensive picture of the senior positions of women across UK businesses as it relates to their positions on the boards of companies.

Details

Gender in Management: An International Journal, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2413

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2005

Lynn M. Martin and Len Tiu Wright

To explore how information communication technologies (ICT) and the internet offer new opportunities for women to develop as entrepreneurs and innovators. To add to the…

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3562

Abstract

Purpose

To explore how information communication technologies (ICT) and the internet offer new opportunities for women to develop as entrepreneurs and innovators. To add to the literature and provide updated research to raise awareness about female‐run ICT small businesses.

Design/methodology/approach

Uses qualitative research methodology for case studies of female entrepreneurs and thematic grid analysis to form a major part of text analysis. The approach is influenced by the need to examine closely the nature of the enterprises or phenomena under investigation and to ask pertinent questions related to their particular mode of operations.

Findings

Shows the background of small firm development and innovation as well as personal and company characteristics, personal contacts and IT networking in obtaining information and customers. Reflects also the concern of female entrepreneurs from ethnic minorities in gaining financial backing and recognition of themselves as committed and successful entrepreneurs.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitation is the small size of the sample (ten firms). There are implications for further work on gender analysis. The sample, though small, has contributed insights into the challenges facing women entrepreneurs in business and questioned the constraints on ethnicity for others. Technology is a great equaliser and the research has added further discussion on the economic contribution of female entrepreneurs.

Practical implications

Shows guidance on qualitative analysis using personal interviews and thematic grid analysis of textual data, as well as presenting findings.

Originality/value

Contributes to the literature due to the scarcity of publications concerning female‐operated ICT small businesses. The paper is useful for researchers wishing to pursue entrepreneurship and gender studies.

Details

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2554

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Article
Publication date: 15 May 2007

Cindy Millman and Lynn M. Martin

The aim of the research was to explore the lead roles taken by women in some successful small copreneurial companies by studying similar small firms in one sector.

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1094

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of the research was to explore the lead roles taken by women in some successful small copreneurial companies by studying similar small firms in one sector.

Design/methodology/approach

Here, a multiple case study approach was selected, using narrative as a key focus, to explore the way the business had been set up, and its subsequent growth. The role of both partners was also explored, plus strategy, leadership and work: life balance.

Findings

New insights emerge about copreneurship where females take lead roles in management, both at start up and through company development. Female partners had an equal or overriding need for achievement to their partners, possessed great self confidence, perceived no barriers to women in business, took a strategic role in the firm from start up through development, drew salaries equal to their male partners and managed life at home and at work.

Research limitations/implications

The case study approach gives insights but other studies are needed, both quantitative and qualitative, to identify whether these were isolated examples or a common experience for copreneurial firms or for this sector. Two had left scientific jobs to start a food product business – an unexpected finding, requiring further study given the poor records for female participation in UK science professions.

Practical implications

The study provides insights for those agencies supporting business development by adding to the role models and images of women taking a lead role.

Originality/value

The study focuses on an under‐researched area. Here, the five female copreneurs perceive themselves – and are perceived – as entrepreneurs, taking a lead and developing strategic vision for the firm. This is an under‐researched aspect of female enterprise.

Details

Women in Management Review, vol. 22 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0964-9425

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