This study looks at SME spending on training in Northern Ireland. We include a range of human resource management functions, as well as workforce characteristics, the…
This study looks at SME spending on training in Northern Ireland. We include a range of human resource management functions, as well as workforce characteristics, the external environment, size, and the impact of changes in ownership status as important determinants of training expenditure in SMEs. Particular attention is also paid to the importance of whether the enterprise is family owned and/or managed. Generally, our results show that HR functions do generally matter; however, workforce characteristics (other than shift working), ownership characteristics and external factors, and even to some extent size, were much less important than expected. What our results do show is that whether the firm is family‐owned/managed is a major factor in determining training budgets in SMEs in Northern Ireland.
Attention has been drawn recently to the differences which exist between family and non‐family firms, but Ward indicates that there are different types of family firms…
Attention has been drawn recently to the differences which exist between family and non‐family firms, but Ward indicates that there are different types of family firms. More specifically, as Dunn puts it, “in some families it is evident that the business serves the family, as opposed to the family serves the business”. For some families in business, economic rationality dominates decision making, yet for others a “family first” ethos is to the fore, while a third group recognises the need to respond to economic and family considerations. In this paper firms which pay attention to both family and business are not investigated. However, Ward’s model of the characteristics of family firms is discussed and data based on a Scottish and Irish sample of 234 firms which put family first when business and family objectives clash, and 830 firms which focus on business objectives, are presented. Results suggest that the former exhibit several of the characteristics defined by Ward. This suggests that a considerable number of family firms may be lifestyle – as opposed to growth‐oriented businesses. These results have major implications for policy makers. If a substantial number of family firms differ from rational economic ventures by their methods of operation, then policy makers should be flexible with regard to the methods of intervention required to support this important section of the SME community. Policy issues in connection with family firms in Britain are considered in the light of our findings.
Family firms account for around 75 per cent of all business enterprises in the UK, but there is a lack of research on these businesses. The family firms literature…
Family firms account for around 75 per cent of all business enterprises in the UK, but there is a lack of research on these businesses. The family firms literature recognises that there are differences between family and non‐family businesses; differences that can be explained by conflicts between a juxtaposition of family values and business values. Consequently, family firms tend to have different approaches to ownership and control, the composition of boards, employment practices, strategy formulation and succession management. This paper reports on the demographic characteristics, ownership configurations, boardroom arrangements, managerial and succession practices of a random selection of 1,065 family firms located in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Results reveal that the firms are well‐established, privately owned, small businesses in which the lead family retains almost all shares and dominates the board of directors. These firms give some preferential treatment to family members in employment and managerial matters but business objectives are not ignored. In keeping with previous research, succession matters are not regularly discussed and much more needs to be done to allow for a smooth transition from one family generation to another. The authors conclude by arguing that there is an urgent need for policy makers to address the problems and needs of small family firms and to develop frameworks and practices for assisting these businesses.
This paper examines the findings of a large‐scale postal survey based on an adaptation of the Cranfield Network (CRANET) Survey of International Strategic Human Resource…
This paper examines the findings of a large‐scale postal survey based on an adaptation of the Cranfield Network (CRANET) Survey of International Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) to facilitate the analysis of HRM practices in the SME business environment. These findings are considered in light of a review of HRM literature. The survey utilised a sample of 1,369 organisations representing every company employing between 20‐100 people in Northern Ireland. This paper analyses key issues emerging from the 219 (16 per cent) responses received and provides a comparison of HRM practices in family and non‐family businesses. Overall, the findings suggest that family business practices within HRM are different than their non‐family counterparts.
Much of the literature relating to human resource management (HRM) has attempted to demonstrate that the “Human resource” is the most valued asset in a company. Large…
Much of the literature relating to human resource management (HRM) has attempted to demonstrate that the “Human resource” is the most valued asset in a company. Large companies have revolutionised their approach to the training and development of their personnel in order to maximise their “competitive edge”. Hotly debated is whether investment in “good HRM” is linked to commercial success. However, very little is known about HRM practices within the small‐ to medium‐size business (SME) and even less is known about the practice within a family business. This survey describes the HRM practices of SMEs (both family and non‐family businesses) in Northern Ireland. Comparisons between the groups are made and findings suggest that family businesses practice HRM differently than their non‐family counterparts. Implications for the training and development of these two groups question whether family businesses need to be treated as a “special case”.
Nationally representative data on family businesses is available in the 1998 Workplace Employee Relations Survey, alongside comparable information for other types of…
Nationally representative data on family businesses is available in the 1998 Workplace Employee Relations Survey, alongside comparable information for other types of firms. We use this data to compare differences in the use of different consultation and communication procedures. We cover such practices as the use of direct communication schemes (e.g. briefings, the provision of information on financial performance to the workforce) as opposed to indirect methods such as the use of joint consultative committees. There is an a priori expectation in the literature that family‐owned businesses are either more likely to use direct forms of communication (vis‐à‐vis indirect forms) or that they will not be involved in direct communication or consultation with their employees, and we test this using multivariate techniques. Finally, we consider whether the type of consultation/communication structure matters in terms of establishment performance, and what differences exist with respect to family‐owned businesses. In particular this short paper reports the outcome of testing if those firms that consult directly with staff, as apposed to those that consult through joint consultative committees or trade unions, have higher productivity and/or other measures of performance.
The principles of TQM are becoming increasingly important in the public sector due to demands for increased levels of stakeholder satisfaction and government cost…
The principles of TQM are becoming increasingly important in the public sector due to demands for increased levels of stakeholder satisfaction and government cost reduction and performance programmes. The aim of this paper is to investigate how the principles of total quality management (TQM) are being sustained in the UK public sector by contributing to improved performance levels. Six quality frameworks, which incorporate to various degrees the principles of TQM and which are applied in public sector organisations, were chosen for the study. The research methodology involved focus groups, a survey questionnaire and semi‐structured interviews. The questionnaire response rate was 62 per cent, involving 163 public sector organisational responses. The results indicate that quality frameworks play a key role in improving organisational performance over time. Furthermore, the business excellence model (BEM) and Investors in People (IiP) model were seen as providing a suitable range of improvement mechanisms and performance measures which were relevant to the public sector.
Compares the perceptions of both large organisations and small‐ to medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) at a meta level in regard to knowledge management (KM) to improve…
Compares the perceptions of both large organisations and small‐ to medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) at a meta level in regard to knowledge management (KM) to improve overall understanding and synthesis of the philosophy and to develop sector‐specific learning in the SME sector. First, identifies and describes the key dimensions of KM using a socially constructed KM model. Second, uses a survey of large (> 250 employees) and SME (< 250 employees) organisations to investigate the perceptions of the KM dimensions. Third, reviews a series of qualitative social constructionist workshops, involving both large and SME organisations which were run to gain a deeper insight into the sectoral comparisons. The results indicate that KM is understanding and implementation is developing in the large organisation sector and knowledge is recognised as having both scientific and social elements. However, the SME sector was less advanced with a mechanistic approach to knowledge and a lack of investment in KM approaches and systems.
It is often claimed that existing quality models can represent the development of total quality management (TQM) within organisations. However, the more recent emergence of critical perspective literature in this area has shown that these models lack both a strategic formulation influence and a dynamic influence for TQM in organisations. Seeks to combine these influences and to evaluate the role of the strategic dynamics of TQM within organisations. Thus, primarily aims to evaluate the strategic dynamics of TQM within case study organisations using an appropriate evaluative framework. A secondary aim is to perform a meta‐evaluation of this framework. The evaluative framework used for the study is Leonard’s grounded theory framework for TQM strategic dynamics. The model was applied to 57 case studies where a cross case analysis was used to guide the analysis. The findings show that the dynamics of TQM are much more complex and recursive than those shown by current models. Furthermore, the main influence of TQM in the cases was found to be at a tactical level and operational level. Those organisations, which applied TQM at a strategic level, were found to have robust TQM programmes with greater longevity, by using frequent regenerative approaches.
There is a paucity of studies on the complex longitudinal dynamics of innovation incorporation within family‐based small‐ to medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) in response to…
There is a paucity of studies on the complex longitudinal dynamics of innovation incorporation within family‐based small‐ to medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) in response to market and technological change. Attempts at innovation implementation are likely to be influenced by the dynamic effects of critical incidents or crisis points in small family‐based firms. The aim of this EU‐funded study is to explore the effects of critical incidents on innovation implementation within a regional cluster of family‐based SMEs over a two‐year period.
The research methodology involves the longitudinal study of a regional cluster of five family‐based businesses in relation to innovation implementation at firm level. A participant observation and critical action learning methodology was used to study the firms over the two‐year period of the study.
The findings, as summarised using a conceptual model, show that the critical incidents acted interactively with the firm's lifecycle stage and its approach to family versus business, to either act as a catalyst for developing more radical innovation or in maintaining the status quo or continuous improvement.
The findings can act as a guide for how family‐based firms can evaluate and maximise their responses to critical incidents and leverage them to encourage more radical approaches to innovation implementation.
There is a paucity of longitudinal studies on the effect of critical incidents on approaches to innovation implementation in family businesses.