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Article
Publication date: 8 September 2021

Stephanie Querbach, Nadine Kammerlander, Jagdip Singh and Matthias Waldkirch

Learning in organizations is well-recognized as a key determinant of innovation and success in competitive markets, and a rich literature examines learning mechanisms in…

Abstract

Purpose

Learning in organizations is well-recognized as a key determinant of innovation and success in competitive markets, and a rich literature examines learning mechanisms in large-sized and professionally-run organizations. Relatively little is known about the learning processes in family-run firms, most of whom are small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) led by a single family SME owner-manager connected in a family network. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to investigate how family SME owner-managers engage in learning and how those learning processes are affected by family SME-specific characteristics.

Design/methodology/approach

Using pragmatic learning theory as an interpretive lens, this study conducts a qualitative multi-case study involving 61 interviews in family SMEs with family SME owner-managers, family members, employees and customers.

Findings

The within- and cross-case analysis helps identify the mechanisms, barriers and enablers of learning and innovation in family SMEs. The study develops and pinpoints the family owner managers’ “functional overload” as a major barrier to learning and employee empowerment, family-members’ support and customer feedback as critical resources in overcoming such functional overload. Yet, these resources turn out to be major amplifiers of functional overload in later phases of the learning process, thus impeding learning and innovation.

Originality/value

The study provides novel insights into learning processes and innovation within family SMEs, outlines the double-edged involvement of family members, employees and customers for learning processes, and provides nuance to pragmatic learning theory.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 31 August 2021

Oluyemi Theophilus Adeosun and Temitope Owolabi

The purpose of this paper is to empirically examine the perspective of youth employees about owner manager businesses. The owner-manager business (a one-man business) is…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to empirically examine the perspective of youth employees about owner manager businesses. The owner-manager business (a one-man business) is the most common in Lagos. Hence, an inquiry into their management style and how it impacts youth employees within the context of decent work is important to explore.

Design/methodology/approach

The study used the convenience sample technique to obtain data from 382 owner-managers and youth employees who work in owner-managed businesses across various sectors. They were administered a questionnaire with carefully structured questions, with an 81% return rate. The exploratory factor analysis (EFA) technique was used to identify the prominent parameters, and the hypothesis tested and validated accordingly.

Findings

The study identified three prominent factors that youth consider when working for an owner-manager business, i.e. the workplace factor, geographical factors and employee benefit. Consequently, issues regarding sustainable employment, conducive working conditions, job security and pension are paramount in the youths' view. Many owner-managers do not respect labour laws, and job security is low in owner-managed businesses; hence, they experience high turnover as most youth work in one-man businesses to gain experience.

Originality/value

The owner-manager business is the most predominant in the country and yet is under-researched. Furthermore, the perception of youth employees regarding owner-manager businesses provides a better understanding of performance and expected satisfactory outcome required from youth employees and how they can be met through proper channelling of their energies to the right tasks.

Details

Journal of Business and Socio-economic Development, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2635-1374

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Book part
Publication date: 5 February 2015

Abstract

Details

The Human Factor In Social Capital Management: The Owner-manager Perspective
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-584-6

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Book part
Publication date: 5 February 2015

Abstract

Details

The Human Factor In Social Capital Management: The Owner-manager Perspective
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-584-6

To view the access options for this content please click here
Book part
Publication date: 5 February 2015

Abstract

Details

The Human Factor In Social Capital Management: The Owner-manager Perspective
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-584-6

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Article
Publication date: 29 May 2020

Phillip McGowan

The purpose of this study is to investigate the efficacy and impact of effectual logic used by owner-managers of established micro firms when making buying decisions.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate the efficacy and impact of effectual logic used by owner-managers of established micro firms when making buying decisions.

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 13 owner-managers of micro firms, concerning their decision-making processes when selecting suppliers. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, then analysed thematically.

Findings

This study contributes to the literature in respect of effectuation by considering its use by a micro firm owner-manager to develop relationships with trusted suppliers. The findings suggest effectuation positively promotes flexibility and reduces loss potential, thus positively affecting the price that the owner-manager is willing to pay. Furthermore, it also appears to necessitate effectual selling, with an ongoing iterative process, in which effectual selling leads to effectual buying. In contrast to extant literature, this study suggests that application of effectual logic to buying and selling decisions, by a micro firm owner-manager can create, rather than reduce, uncertainty.

Research limitations/implications

This study is based on single interviews with a sample of owner-managers of micro firms that operate within the same industry and within a single country. The subjective nature of qualitative research, homogeneity and size of sample may prevent generalisation of the findings.

Practical implications

Effectual buying and selling appears to provide a micro firm with the ability to engage with flexible suppliers so as to offer a heterogeneous array of products and services to its customers, thus promoting sales success. Yet, the lack of homogeneity of customer needs and need for supplier flexibility may lead to overall costs being greater than those that could be achieved if the micro firm specialised in a smaller range of products and services and developed internal resources to meet the needs of its customers.

Originality/value

In contrast to extant literature that states that effectuation is a way to reduce uncertainty to a level at which a decision can be made, this study suggests that continual use of effectual logic by owner-managers of micro firms when making buying and selling decisions can instead create more uncertainty in the longer term.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 36 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article
Publication date: 30 December 2019

Izabella Steinerowska-Streb and Anna Wziątek-Staśko

The purpose of this paper is to identify the relationship between family firms’ innovation output and the continuous knowledge development of owner-managers. Moreover, the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the relationship between family firms’ innovation output and the continuous knowledge development of owner-managers. Moreover, the study aims to investigate the effect of the level of owner-managers’ educational background on family firms’ innovation.

Design/methodology/approach

The data originate from a primary research conducted in Poland. A log-linear analysis was used to verify the hypotheses.

Findings

The findings demonstrate that the positive relationship between the higher levels of education of owner-managers and the innovation output of family firms does not exist. However, the innovativeness of family firms is determined by the continuous development of owner-managers’ knowledge. Family firms whose owner-managers continuously expand their knowledge introduce significantly more product and marketing innovations. This relationship appears independent of firm’s size, type of business activity and owner-managers’ educational level.

Practical implications

Understanding how the continuous development of owner-managers’ knowledge influence the firm’s innovation output is potentially valuable for managers of family firms. The findings offer also practical suggestions for policymakers on how to support structures that aim to enhance innovation in family enterprises.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the family business literature by presenting quantitative findings describing links between family firms’ innovation outputs and continuous knowledge development of owner-managers. Thus, the study broadens knowledge on factors determining innovation of family firms and influencing family business heterogeneity.

Details

Journal of Family Business Management, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2043-6238

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 15 January 2020

Alexander Poeschl and Joerg Freiling

The purpose of this paper is to explore the under-researched family-external business succession process. It makes use of entrepreneurship theory in order to conceptualize…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the under-researched family-external business succession process. It makes use of entrepreneurship theory in order to conceptualize this temporal process. This allows for an operationalization of entrepreneurial functions and tracking them during the two main phases of such processes. This study provides a starting point for further endeavors into researching family-external succession processes.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is based on an explorative, quasi-longitudinal, qualitative and multiple case-study approach. It became possible to create trust with stakeholders in three family firms and to conduct face-to-face interviews with a total of 12 interviewees, generating over 300 transcript pages. The case interviews were validated through two expert interviews. A priori research propositions were tested and modified, if deemed necessary.

Findings

Entrepreneurial functions during the two main phases of the process seem to be carried out and aligned depending on several influencing factors: delegation of responsibilities from owner-managers to qualified employees; incumbent owner-managers being heavily involved in the succession’s facilitation and neglecting some entrepreneurial functions; and as a result new owner-managers being forced to prioritize certain functions in the second phase.

Originality/value

This paper benefits from a rather unique access to three family firms undergoing succession in the DACH-region. Therefore, it became possible to study the family-external succession process by including various stakeholders involved. Such an inclusion of perspectives has been suggested by family business scholars for a long time.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 33 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

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Article
Publication date: 27 July 2012

Merja Lähdesmäki and Tuomo Takala

The purpose of this study is to examine corporate philanthropy from the perspective of small business owner‐managers to find out whether there is room for altruism in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine corporate philanthropy from the perspective of small business owner‐managers to find out whether there is room for altruism in business life.

Design/methodology/approach

This study is based on 25 thematic interviews with small business owner‐managers. The data analysis is based on a method of qualitative content analysis.

Findings

Based on the analysis, it is shown that reactivity, an emphasis on personal interests, the willingness to utilize philanthropy as part of marketing and lack of planning are typical of philanthropy in the small business context. Small businesses often emphasize strategic business reasons as the main motive for their philanthropic engagements. Nevertheless, in some cases the philanthropic decisions are based on mere willingness to contribute to the welfare of others. Thus, the paper suggests that there is room for altruism in the small business context. The existence of altruism in the context of small business philanthropy is closely related to owner‐managers' values and business ambitions. Indeed, the organizational context does not usually hinder the existence of altruism to any great extent among small businesses, as it might do in the large business context. Similarly, based on the results of this study, the authors suggest that close relationships between a small business and its stakeholders increase the probability of altruism in business.

Research limitations/implications

It is acknowledged that corporate philanthropy is but one possible context in which to study altruism.

Originality/value

The study provides useful information on whether there is room for altruism in business life from the perspective of small business owner‐managers.

Details

Social Responsibility Journal, vol. 8 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-1117

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 9 November 2015

Helena Sjögrén and Pasi Syrjä

The purpose of this paper is to learn more about how regulation affects small business in the Finnish context. The authors create a framework for understanding…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to learn more about how regulation affects small business in the Finnish context. The authors create a framework for understanding owner-managers’ attitudes towards business legislation. It is authors’ understanding that not enough is known about how small firms make strategic choices that drive business in a highly regulated environment.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper contributes to the existing knowledge of entrepreneurship and small business management. The empirical data used to test the hypotheses were drawn from the postal survey. Differences between owner-managers’ attitudes towards business regulation were identified with factor and cluster analyses methods.

Findings

Regulation often exerts only a limited influence over owner-managers’ decision-making. Family entrepreneurs are more compliant towards business regulation. Regulation is not too heavy a burden to all in business in Finland, even though Finland is a highly regulated country.

Research limitations/implications

The real impact of regulation on small firms’ performance is really difficult to prove, because small firms operating in the same regulatory context have different performance outcomes. Additionally, often owner-managers’ awareness of specific regulations is limited.

Practical implications

There could be gap between the presumed effect of policymakers and the real effect of regulation among owner-managers. In Finland, policymakers should find other motivations to encourage business than lightening the regulatory burden. They should concentrate more providing external support to small firms in the form of information, training and financing new small firms.

Originality/value

It is authors’ understanding that not enough is known about how small firms make strategic choices that drive business in a highly regulated environment.

Details

International Journal of Law and Management, vol. 57 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-243X

Keywords

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