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The concept of empowerment has received a great deal of attention in recent years. However, the empowerment knowledge base is predominantly large company‐oriented with little evidence of understanding what empowerment means in a small business context. It is inappropriate to treat the small firm as a microcosm of a large organisation. The small business is qualitatively as well as quantitatively different and this article propounds that it is questionable whether the concept of empowerment and its various dimensions as portrayed in the literature are readily transferable to small businesses. It is suggested that empowering management approaches are key features of successful growth‐oriented small firms but the current body of empowerment literature fails to encapsulate the idiosyncrasies and informalities of the small business operation, and thus convey understanding of the unique and novel forms of empowerment which facilitate sustainable development. Case study insight is used to support these propositions.
The paper proffers a tentative conceptualisation of the “small business strategic learning process”, demonstrating the complexity of the small firm learning and management…
The paper proffers a tentative conceptualisation of the “small business strategic learning process”, demonstrating the complexity of the small firm learning and management task. The framework, built upon personal construct theory and learning theories, is elaborated through the grounding of relevant areas of the strategic management literature in an understanding of the distinctive managerial and behavioural features of the small business. The framework is then utilised to underpin consideration of the concepts of “organisational learning” and the “learning organisation” within a small firm developmental context. It is suggested that whilst organisational learning may be a key and effective small business management approach to underpin sustainable development, the learning organisation, as currently conceived in the mainstream literature, fails to recognise and address the idiosyncrasies, problems and constraints relating to sustainable small business development. There does appear, however, to be great potential for extending understanding of the learning organisation concept into the small business context. An indicative research agenda is suggested.
The contemporary business environment is characterised by unknowable, unpredictable open‐ended change. This article, portraying the small business as a potential unique…
The contemporary business environment is characterised by unknowable, unpredictable open‐ended change. This article, portraying the small business as a potential unique problem‐type, qualitatively as well as quantitatively different from the large company, uses personal construct theory to demonstrate how “complex learning” is an essential, but extremely difficult, process for the effecting of sustainable strategic development of the small firm in the face of an extremely uncertain environment. The utility of rational planning as a vehicle for strategically controlling open‐ended change is questioned and the potential for the adoption of an organisational learning perspective to enhance understanding as to how small firms learn about and act upon open‐ended change is proffered. This is supported by tentative findings of our empirical research into how small firms “complex learn” in practice. In turn this provides the foundations for consideration of the potential role of HRM in supporting the small firm strategy development process in terms of learning about and acting on open‐ended change.
The study of humor has a long tradition in philosophy, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and communications. Evidence from these fields suggests that humor can have…
The study of humor has a long tradition in philosophy, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and communications. Evidence from these fields suggests that humor can have effects on creativity, cohesiveness, and performance, but organizational scholars have paid it relatively little attention. We hope to “jump-start” such a research program. To do this, we first outline the theoretical rationale underlying the production and appreciation of humor, namely, its motivational, cognitive, and emotional mechanisms. Next, we review the literature linking humor to creativity, cohesiveness, and other performance-relevant outcomes. In particular, we note how this literature is theoretically well-grounded, but that the empirical findings are largely correlational and/or based on qualitative research designs. Finally, we go beyond the current humor literature by developing specific predictions about how culture might interact with humor in organizational contexts. Throughout the paper, we discuss possible research directions and methodological issues relevant to the study of humor in organizations.
Technology, particularly for students with disabilities, is often viewed as “the great equalizer” (Wyer, 2001, p. 1). It is perceived as a means of providing access and…
Technology, particularly for students with disabilities, is often viewed as “the great equalizer” (Wyer, 2001, p. 1). It is perceived as a means of providing access and opportunity, promoting independence, and encouraging empowerment (Edyburn, Higgins, & Boone, 2005b). Technology can greatly benefit students with disabilities and solve many of the challenges these students face. Perhaps, this was put most profusely by former Assistant Secretary of the United States Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs Judy Heumann, “For most of us, technology makes things easier. For a person with a disability, it makes things possible” (Edyburn et al., 2005b, p. xiii). The potential of technology is enormous for students with disabilities. For example, technology can provide a voice to those students who may not otherwise have one per their disability (i.e., AAC devices), read a text to a student who struggles with reading as a result of his/her disability (i.e., text-to-speech devices, screen readers, and Reading Pens), grant access to a computer and other electronic tools (i.e., switches and speech recognition), and offer low-tech devices such as pencil grips or lined paper to aid students in writing.
Prior research identified conflicts in implementing performance measurement systems that include both financial and non-financial measures. Attempts to incorporate…
Prior research identified conflicts in implementing performance measurement systems that include both financial and non-financial measures. Attempts to incorporate non-financial measures, for example, balanced scorecards (BSCs), have shown short-term success, only to be replaced with systems that rely on financial measures. We develop a theoretical model to explore evaluators’ choice and use of the most important performance measurement criterion among financial and non-financial measures.
Our model links participants’ prior evaluation experiences with their attitudes about relative accounting qualities and with their choice of the most important performance measure. This choice subsequently affects their evaluation judgments of managers who perform differentially on financial versus non-financial measures.
Experimental testing of our structural equation model indicates that it meets the accepted goodness of fit criteria. We conclude that experience has an influence on choice of performance measures and on decision heuristics in making such evaluations. We suggest that an “experience gap” must be considered when deciding which performance metrics to emphasize in scorecards or similar performance reports. We analyzed four accounting qualities, importance, relevance, reliability, and comparability and found that importance, relevance, and reliability have strong effects on how managers prioritize and use accounting measures.
We conducted our study in a controlled, experimental setting, including participants with diverse experiences. We provide direct evidence of participants’ experience and attitudes about the relative accounting qualities of financial and non-financial measures which we link to their choice of the most important performance measure. We link this choice to their performance evaluations.