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1 – 10 of over 7000
Article
Publication date: 1 May 2015

Graciela Corral de Zubielqui, Janice Jones, Pi-Shen Seet and Noel Lindsay

The purpose of this paper is to understand how and why small to medium enterprises (SMEs) access knowledge from external actors in general and from higher education…

1829

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand how and why small to medium enterprises (SMEs) access knowledge from external actors in general and from higher education institutions (HEIs) in particular and what is the extent to which these knowledge access pathways affect SME innovativeness.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper involved both quantitative and qualitative approaches: a survey of 1,226 SMEs and a mini case study to follow-up on issues arising from the survey analysis. Survey data were analysed using both non-parametric and multivariate Poisson regression analysis. The case study was based on a medium-sized manufacturing firm in South Australia.

Findings

While there are significant differences between the micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, the evidence suggests that SMEs generally use “generic” university–industry knowledge transfer pathways (e.g. published research results) rather than university–industry links with high “relational” involvement. More significantly, the results indicate that SMEs are more likely to rely on organisations other than universities and related R&D enterprises for knowledge acquisition like clients/customers or suppliers. While collaboration is most likely to occur within the same state/territory, or Australia, many SMEs also collaborate internationally, usually as part of normal supplier–customer relationships, reinforcing knowledge acquisition from organisationally proximate partners. These findings are also supported by the case study.

Research limitations/implications

This research was limited to surveying SMEs in one geographic (metropolitan) region in Australia. It also does not account for the different patterns of HEI–SME interactions in different industry sectors. There is also only one case study.

Originality/value

First, the research adds to the few field studies that have investigated accessing knowledge for innovation among SMEs. Specifically, the research contributes to an understanding of the heterogeneous roles that different actors play in facilitating knowledge access for improving innovative SMEs outcomes. Second, the research does not treat all SMEs similarly in terms of size effects but instead accounts for differing SME sizes and how this affects their selection of knowledge access pathways. Third, the research contributes to a small number of studies that attempt to understand how HEIs and SMEs can work better together in the context of a regional innovation system, especially one that is relatively less competitive to the larger economy.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 30 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 March 2014

Caroline Nicholas and Michael Fruhmann

This paper will consider the rationale and effectiveness of SMEsupport policies in the award of public procurement (PP) contracts. One group of economic justifications for…

1377

Abstract

This paper will consider the rationale and effectiveness of SMEsupport policies in the award of public procurement (PP) contracts. One group of economic justifications for SME policies derives from the notion that awarding PP contracts to SMEs (and micro-enterprises) encourages innovation, entrepreneurship and so contributes to job creation, economic growth and can support local and regional developments to the benefit of wider society. The link between SMEs, innovation and economic growth has often been assumed in PP policy-making. While some studies show higher growth rates in small than larger firms, others indicate, to the contrary, that many micro and small enterprises, and particularly informal businesses, are not actively seeking to grow. This paper will assess how effective SME policies may be, and questions the extent to which they are properly evaluated.

Details

Journal of Public Procurement, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1535-0118

Article
Publication date: 1 October 2006

Janice Jones

The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast the extent and nature of Vocational Education and Training (VET) vis‐à‐vis other forms of training in three size…

714

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast the extent and nature of Vocational Education and Training (VET) vis‐à‐vis other forms of training in three size categories of small‐to‐medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) from two industry sectors.

Design/methodology/approach

The longitudinal panel data employed in this paper are drawn from the Business Longitudinal Survey (BLS) conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) over the four financial years 1994‐1995 to 1997‐1998.

Findings

The results indicate that less than half of the enterprises in the three‐size categories provide apprenticeship training and traineeships – and in the case of microand small business, VET in any other field for that matter ‐ or used any of the widely recognised providers of accredited VET. While there is a positive association between enterprise size and the implementation of VET, nonetheless, the results demonstrate that small business investment in structured VET is minimal. The results also show that significant size‐related and industry differences exist in training provision, methods, fields and providers in small business, with substantive differences occurring between small and medium‐sized firms.

Research limitations/implications

This paper relied upon a secondary data source, and is limited by the VET variables available in the BLS.

Practical implications

The findings in the paper indicate that, at the micro‐end of firm size, only the minority of firms provide training, suggesting that no matter what definition of VET is adopted, the majority of micro‐businesses do not provide training.

Originality/value

The paper focused exclusively on VET in SMEs in Australia, adding to the very few longitudinal inter‐industry studies conducted to date that have explicitly examined the nature and extent of VET relative to other forms of training in small business.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 48 no. 8/9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 December 2005

Naomi Birdthistle and Patricia Fleming

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how a learning organisation can be created within the framework of the family SME in Ireland.

2598

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how a learning organisation can be created within the framework of the family SME in Ireland.

Design/methodology/approach

No comprehensive list of independent family businesses in Ireland was available. To overcome this problem a pragmatic approach was taken in the construction of a sampling frame for this research. Primary data from a stratified random sample of independent unquoted businesses were collected. Data were collected from 121 family SMEs using a postal questionnaire.

Findings

The results indicate that micro, small and medium‐sized family firms display some of the characteristics of a learning organisation, but not all of them. Therefore, with strategic review, systems development and cultural change within family SMEs in Ireland, they have the potential to be learning organisations.

Research limitations/implications

This study used a single‐respondent, self‐administered questionnaire. Future research should incorporate analysing other members of the family business – family and non‐family members – so as to get a “wider” understanding of the family SME.

Practical implications

A major contribution of this research is the identification of an existing and suitable theoretical background that can be applied to the study of the family SME, thereby providing a frame‐of‐reference for the analysis of family SMEs as learning organisations.

Originality/value

This paper presents original findings in a highly relevant, but under‐researched field – the family SME as a learning organisation.

Details

Journal of European Industrial Training, vol. 29 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0590

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 27 April 2010

Suzanne Richbell, László Szerb and Zsuzsanna Vitai

This paper aims to provide an original picture of a selection of human resource management (HRM) activities in the micro, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in…

3001

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide an original picture of a selection of human resource management (HRM) activities in the micro, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Hungary and to explore the extent to which these activities can be related to variations in firm size and variations in firm performance.

Design/methodology/approach

The study measures the presence or absence of a selection of HRM activities through a questionnaire survey of a large sample of 678 Hungarian SMEs.

Findings

Hungarian SMEs, in their working relationships, are closer to the “happy family” model of the SME than the “bleak house” model. Employee morale was perceived as high and only one in ten SMEs felt their employees were opposed to change. Owners were reluctant to seek advice from those outside the firm. They also showed reluctance to discuss future plans with their employees although they did tend to consult employees who would be affected directly by any change. Communication within SMEs was predominantly informal. Surprisingly, given the skills shortages highlighted by SMEs in other economies, very few of the Hungarian SMEs identified skills shortages as a problem and formal training programmes were reported only rarely. Variations between micro, small and medium sized firms are highlighted to emphasize the heterogeneous nature of the Hungarian SME sector.

Research limitations/implications

The HRM activities considered provide a picture of only a small number of HRM activities in Hungarian SMEs but the findings imply the relationships examined here are deserving of further exploration both in Hungary and other transition economies.

Originality/value

The paper provides a detailed picture of selected aspects of HRM in smaller businesses within a transition economy.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 32 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 5 April 2021

P. C. Parida, Arup Mitra and Kailash Ch. Pradhan

This study attempts to examine the missing middle (MM) phenomena in the context of the Indian manufacturing sector using the unit level information from the database of…

1105

Abstract

Purpose

This study attempts to examine the missing middle (MM) phenomena in the context of the Indian manufacturing sector using the unit level information from the database of Ministry of Corporate Affair, Government of India.

Design/methodology/approach

Unlike the previous studies, the present study first bifurcated the missing enterprises into two categories such as “permanently” dropped and “reappeared,” in order to pursue a meaningful analysis and derive conclusions with policy insights. Various financial indicators were used to explain the causes of MM phenomena during 2009–2010 and 2016–2017, in a logistic framework.

Findings

The study found that profit margin ratio is higher for the group of medium sized enterprises which continued in comparison to the units which dropped out permanently. Similar is the case with the ratio of investment turnover. The econometric results, however suggest that the relationship between the chances of a firm being dropped out and financial indicators is weak as the coefficients of various financial indicators are found to be statistically significant only for a few years.

Originality/value

The study suggests that the missing middle phenomenon is not a myth in India as very large number of medium-sized firms have been disappearing from the market over the years. Based on firm level data it identifies the factors which resulted in such a phenomenon.

Details

Journal of Economics and Development, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1859-0020

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 23 March 2012

Victoria Bordonaba‐Juste, Laura Lucia‐Palacios and Yolanda Polo‐Redondo

There are two purposes of this paper: first, to analyze the effect of size and other organizational factors (IT knowledge, IT external support and the level of employees'…

2795

Abstract

Purpose

There are two purposes of this paper: first, to analyze the effect of size and other organizational factors (IT knowledge, IT external support and the level of employees' education) on the use of e‐business; and second, to identify similarities and differences among these factors in micro, small, medium‐sized and large enterprises.

Design/methodology/approach

The proposed model is empirically tested using data from the Sectorial e‐Business W@tch survey. A logit estimation for the whole sample and for each type of firm size has been implemented on the use of e‐business.

Findings

The study finds positive and significant effects of all the organizational factors on the intensity of e‐business use. When analyzing the effect of size, it was found that medium‐sized and large firms are more likely to use e‐business more intensively. Although medium‐sized and large firms are similar, some differences have been found between small and medium‐sized firms. Only small firms use IT outsourcing as a key factor to use e‐business.

Research limitations/implications

This study is based on a cross‐sectional data set. Longitudinal research would be needed for comparing results over time. Future studies could focus on the use of each type of e‐business technology, instead of a global measure of e‐business use. Future research could also analyze the differences of e‐business adoption rates among countries.

Practical implications

The paper concludes that small and micro firms are less likely to conduct e‐business than medium‐sized and large firms. An important influence on the use of e‐business is workforce education, implying that training could substitute hiring IT employees. Outsourcing IT activities is a suitable strategy only for small firms.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the literature on e‐business with new evidence of the importance of size and human capital. Additionally, an analysis for each firm size has been done, which allows comparison of results.

Details

Marketing Intelligence & Planning, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-4503

Keywords

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…

18056

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

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 4 May 2021

Marian Crowley-Henry, Edward P. O'Connor and Blanca Suarez-Bilbao

This micro-level study unpacks the recruitment and retention of international professionals to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The study highlights the…

Abstract

Purpose

This micro-level study unpacks the recruitment and retention of international professionals to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The study highlights the influence of the founders' international experience when applying organisational-level (meso) policies and practices. With their insider experience as skilled migrants, we share how the founders in each of the SMEs mobilised career capital into human resource management (HRM) strategies.

Design/methodology/approach

Combining literature on SMEs and skilled migrants' careers, we draw upon intelligent career theory to illuminate the recruitment and retention of self-initiated expatriates and skilled migrants in SMEs. With three SME case studies as samples–one micro, one small and one medium-sized organisation in Ireland–we consider the influence of the founders' international experience in the design and application of formal and informal HRM strategies (at the organisational level) that are operationalised to recruit and retain international talent to/in these organisations.

Findings

The HRM practices in the three SME cases in this paper, each run by migrant founders, vary from formalised (for our medium-sized organisation), semi-formalised (for our small-sized organisation) to ad hoc and tailor-made (for our micro-sized organisation). These particular SMEs were often more receptive to hiring other migrants. The important role of the three SME case studies' skilled migrant founders and their own international career experiences was apparent in the particular HRM approaches they adopted. The relevance of intelligent career theory when applying micro-level findings at the meso-organisational level is shown.

Originality/value

The paper presents how the international experience of founder–managers, in turn, impacts on the HRM practices and policies that are implemented to recruit and retain international employees. The study highlights how both organisation size and founder-manager international experience influence the degree of customisation of HRM practices and policies in SMEs, specifically pertaining to the recruitment and retention of self-initiated expatriates and skilled migrant employees. The heterogeneity within the sub-categories encompassed under the umbrella label of SME is emphasised; validating our case study approach, where nuance and detail of the specific organisation can be shared.

Details

Journal of Global Mobility: The Home of Expatriate Management Research, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-8799

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 February 1997

María Angélica Ducci

Long‐standing vocational training institutions in Latin America countries are undergoing significant transformation to improve their relevance, efficiency and

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Abstract

Long‐standing vocational training institutions in Latin America countries are undergoing significant transformation to improve their relevance, efficiency and effectiveness in responding to the challenges of increased competitiveness, economic restructuring, technological change and evolving social demands. Based on an extensive survey conducted in 1990, reviews and analyses the recent changes and innovations taking place in such organizations, focusing on their institutional policies, strategies, programmes and services delivered. Trends show that training authorities are evolving towards: (1) emphasizing in‐service training; (2) up‐grading the level of training; (3) organizing training by economic sectors; (4) transferring training delivery to enterprises; (5) focusing on direct support to small‐scale enterprises; and (6) taking on new roles in technology transfer. national training authorities have thus managed to strengthen their linkages and legitimacy with enterprises against a background of reduced public funding and mounting pressure from enterprises to satisfy their increasing and more diverse demands.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 18 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

Keywords

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