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Article
Publication date: 20 February 2017

Natalia Vershinina, Rowena Barrett and Peter McHardy

The purpose of this paper is to explore the logics that expert entrepreneurs use when faced with a critical incident threat.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the logics that expert entrepreneurs use when faced with a critical incident threat.

Design/methodology/approach

Attempts have been made to define “entrepreneurial logic”. This paper is influenced by Sarasvathy’s work on high-performance entrepreneurs, which finds that when faced with uncertainty entrepreneurs employ unconventional logic, and encompasses later research acknowledging social contexts where entrepreneurs operate. A typology of decision-making logics is developed, taking into account the situation of crisis. Seven expert entrepreneurs who faced crisis and, despite this, are still successfully operating businesses were interviewed. The paper develops a critical incidents methodology.

Findings

Experienced entrepreneurs were found to tend towards causal logic when “the stakes were high” and the decision may affect the survival of their business. They also weigh up options before acting and tend to seek advice from trusted “others” within their network before or after they have made a decision. A mixture of causal and intuitive logic is evident in decisions dealing with internal business problems.

Research limitations/implications

The decisions that entrepreneurs make shape and define their business and their ability to recover from crisis. If researchers can develop an understanding of how entrepreneurs make decisions – what information they draw upon, what support systems they use and the logic of their decision-making and rationalisation – then this can be used to help structure support.

Originality/value

By exploring decision-making through critical incidents we offer an innovative way to understand context-rich, first-hand experiences and behaviours of entrepreneurs around a focal point.

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 24 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 9 July 2018

Md. Shahiduzzaman, Marek Kowalkiewicz and Rowena Barrett

Despite the rapid pace of digitalization, aggregate productivity growth rates in most advanced countries have slowed down consistently in recent years. It creates a…

Abstract

Purpose

Despite the rapid pace of digitalization, aggregate productivity growth rates in most advanced countries have slowed down consistently in recent years. It creates a “puzzle”, as investment in information technology (IT) has often been thought of as a remedy to solve productivity problems. The purpose of this paper is to examine the “puzzle” by using industry-level data.

Design/methodology/approach

This research uses industry-level longitudinal data and examines changes in both labour and multifactor productivity (MFP) in Australian industries. This study uses an instrumental variable (IV) approach to estimate the models.

Findings

Findings suggest an improvement in IT-led productivity performance in recent years. Industries with an above-average share of IT (IT investment as a share of total investment) have experienced MFP boosts since 2005.

Research limitations/implications

Because of the aggregate nature of the data it was not possible to incorporate firm-specific factors, such as managerial and organisational factors, in the analysis.

Practical implications

The performance of IT has improved despite the falling growth in technology investment in recent years, suggesting that intangible factors, such as better regulatory and policy frameworks, have potentially played a positive role.

Originality/value

There are only a few studies using sectoral and longitudinal-type data, with many having become dated, meaning that there is a lack of understanding surrounding recent developments.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 67 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

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Article
Publication date: 17 December 2018

Azadeh Rezvani, Rowena Barrett and Pouria Khosravi

The purpose of the study is to enhance understanding of the relationships among team emotional intelligence (EI), trust in team, conflict in team and team performance.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the study is to enhance understanding of the relationships among team emotional intelligence (EI), trust in team, conflict in team and team performance.

Design/methodology/approach

A sample of 389 team members from 84 project teams in large-scale construction projects was surveyed.

Findings

Findings showed that team EI is positively associated with team performance. In addition, trust and conflict in the team mediate the association between team EI and team performance.

Practical implications

The ability to perceive one’s own and others’ emotions significantly increases the likelihood of team performance by increasing trust in a team and reducing conflict. Therefore, managers can use these findings to boost team performance and reduce conflict in their teams.

Originality/value

This research contributes to the better understanding of the relationship between team EI and team performance in large-scale construction projects. In addition, this research is an empirical investigation into the mediation variables linking EI to team performance.

Details

Team Performance Management: An International Journal, vol. 25 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-7592

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 8 April 2014

Tara Smith and Rowena Barrett

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the use of an informal online discussion forum (ODF) to encourage voluntary participation and promote double-loop learning by…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the use of an informal online discussion forum (ODF) to encourage voluntary participation and promote double-loop learning by small business owners (SBOs).

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative methodology was used where data gathered from three sources, the ODF posts, in-depth interviews with participants and a focus group with non-participants. These were analysed to evaluate learning of SBOs in an ODF.

Findings

This research provides evidence that an ODF for SBOs supports double-loop learning; however, participation could not be assumed simply by the online availability of the discussion resource.

Research limitations/implications

Few SBOs participated in the ODF which is consistent with research finding SBOs are a difficult group to engage in learning. Four forms of data were analysed to strengthen results.

Practical implications

Caution should be exercised when considering investment in e-learning for SBOs.

Originality/value

Evidence showing e-learning through an informal voluntary ODF can promote deep learning for SBOs.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 56 no. 2/3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 28 March 2008

Rowena Barrett and John Burgess

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the papers contributing to this special issue and to locate them within the broader questions about the role of small firms in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the papers contributing to this special issue and to locate them within the broader questions about the role of small firms in enabling or alleviating issues of equality, diversity, and difference for various groups in society.

Design/methodology/approach

The literature dealing with the issues of equality, diversity, and difference pertaining to the operation of and/or working in smaller firms was reviewed prior to drawing out the key points from the submitted papers and considering the contribution they make to this literature.

Findings

Overall, one's these five papers contribute to one's understanding of the issues facing those in business or self‐employment, working in small business or wanting to pursue enterprise.

Originality/value

Rarely are questions asked about the assumed role small firms play in mitigating social exclusion for a range of groups in society. By addressing questions which explore the challenge of equality, diversity, and difference for small business in their establishment, management, and effective operation using interdisciplinary frameworks and different methodologies, a better understanding of the role of small business in society can be developed.

Details

Equal Opportunities International, vol. 27 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0261-0159

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 28 March 2008

Rowena Barrett and Susan Mayson

The purpose of this paper is to examine the management of maternity leave in small firms and particularly to explore the perceived costs and benefits of paid maternity…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the management of maternity leave in small firms and particularly to explore the perceived costs and benefits of paid maternity leave (PML). PML is a universal right in some countries (i.e. the UK), but not in Australia where most private sector female employees only have access to 12 months unpaid maternity leave. It also aims to explore how the business case for (or against) PML is constructed in small firms.

Design/methodology/approach

The study was limited to smaller firms operating in the business services sector in the same regional area. Semi‐structured interviews were conducted with eight employers and female employees in six of these firms. Analysis by theme was undertaken within and across interview transcripts.

Findings

Not one of these small firm employers offered PML and the cost of doing so was not considered to outweigh the benefits already realised through the (legislated) unpaid maternity leave scheme. In these firms maternity leave was managed in an informal way with notions of flexibility – give and take – characterising what happens.

Originality/value

The paper addresses the lack of research on access to family‐related leave policies in small firms. Employer and employee views of the issue are drawn upon, the latter not often being heard. The paper contributes to understanding the construction of the business case for a specific issue in smaller firms and human resource management from a resource‐based view more generally in smaller firms.

Details

Equal Opportunities International, vol. 27 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0261-0159

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 August 2015

Rowena Barrett

The purpose of this paper is to explore what the attitudes of small firm owner-managers are to developing the skills of their key resources and then examine how these and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore what the attitudes of small firm owner-managers are to developing the skills of their key resources and then examine how these and other factors affect owner-managers’ preferences for training these employees.

Design/methodology/approach

This study of training in small road transport firms in West Australia is cast in light of the literature on human resource management in small firms underpinned by insights drawn using the resource based view of the firm. Small firms (less than 20 people) dominate this industry, while the increasing freight task, and extreme distances between West Australian ports, towns and mines highlight this sectors’ importance. Survey results from 39 small road transport firms and interviews with nine owner-managers are analysed.

Findings

Legislative, regulatory and licensing requirements were shown to be a key determinant of skills development. Employers ensured that basic standards for employee certification and qualification were met, as the penalty for not doing so would be too high. Regulations drove the need for certain types of training – licenses, fatigue management, occupational health and safety, handling dangerous goods, the Maritime Security Identification Card card, forklift license, mine site inductions – while owner-managers knew where to get the training their staff needed. Although regulation appeared most visible in prescribing what happened in relation to training for drivers, the relevance of owner-managers’ attitudes could not be ignored, nor could conditions in the firms external environment as this shaped how these requirements were met.

Research limitations/implications

The RBV is useful in showing how skill development enabled similarity in skills across firms, while the attitudes owner-managers and economic and social conditions meant what happened in firms around skill development varied. The importance of small firm owner-managers’ attitudes are clearly highlighted and shown to influence organizational decisions and choices around training, but these were not independent of the regulatory framework and the economic and social conditions within which the firm operated. The small firms in this study did engage workers in formal training when necessary but it was put in the context of the idiosyncratic approach of the owner-manager and the day-to-day needs of the firm. “Training” was essentially about ensuring certain types of skills were held by employees and then passing on knowledge to ensure the behavior of employees was consistent with the owner-manager’s vision for the firm in its current environment.

Originality/value

Ways industry and government can encourage training activity that goes beyond the day-to-day firm needs are suggested.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 37 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 27 November 2007

Rowena Barrett, Robyn Neeson and Leo Billington

The purpose of this paper is to explore what owners of small firms are looking for from new employees. The aim is to pursue this in light of the debate around formality…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore what owners of small firms are looking for from new employees. The aim is to pursue this in light of the debate around formality and informality of small firm HRM, exploring the extent to which the small firms studied had formalised HRM practices.

Design/methodology/approach

The data reported here were collected in discussions with the owner(s) of 27 small firms in the Latrobe Valley region of South East Victoria, Australia. These firms were participating in the federal government‐funded small business assistance program and data were gathered through a series of visits and discussions with the owners over the period of the assistance program.

Findings

It was found that in those firms where they had formalised HRM practices, which linked directly to their strategy, employers were more able to “sell” their vision for the business to potential employees.

Research limitations/implications

Research has shown that there is a positive relationship between small firm growth and the formalisation of HRM policies. However, this paper is based on discussions with people who were taking action to acknowledge and address issues affecting their business and so their experience may not be generalisable to other small businesses.

Originality/value

This paper makes an original contribution of exploring the area of HRM in small firms and is hopefully a reminder to small business owners that HRM issues and small business advisers can play a critical role in the structure of their HRM practices – helping them to decide whom they want to recruit and how to go about it.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 49 no. 8/9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 22 May 2007

Rowena Barrett and Susan Mayson

The purpose of this paper is to begin the process of exploring the intersection between entrepreneurship and HRM by developing an understanding of the nature of HRM in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to begin the process of exploring the intersection between entrepreneurship and HRM by developing an understanding of the nature of HRM in growth‐oriented small firms.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey of 600 small Australian businesses, conducted by CPA Australia in March 2002 to explore employment issues, is analysed by the authors.

Findings

The analysis shows that growth‐oriented small firms are more likely than non‐growing ones to use formal HRM practices where that means that they are written down, regularly applied or assured to take place.

Research limitations/implications

The data are a single snapshot of small firms in time (March 2002) and therefore, while non‐growing small firms can be identified amongst the sample, it is not correct to assume either that they have not grown in the past to reach their current size (with the exception of the single person firms) or that they will not grow in the future. Moreover it is not known whether the growth, which the growing small firms indicate they undertook, was or is sustained.

Practical implications

The result suggests that small firms seeking growth should reconsider their HRM practices in light of their business plans to ensure that there is a good “fit”.

Originality/value

The authors examine small firms in Australia, which are much smaller than their international counterparts, to see whether conclusions from overseas studies are relevant.

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 14 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 28 March 2008

Spinder Dhaliwal and David Gray

The Asian business community has been noted for its contribution to the UK economy. This vibrant sector of the small to medium‐sized enterprises population serves to…

Abstract

Purpose

The Asian business community has been noted for its contribution to the UK economy. This vibrant sector of the small to medium‐sized enterprises population serves to illustrate diversity in terms of spanning sectors including manufacturing and services, entertainment and fashion, hotels and property, food and pharmaceuticals. This paper seeks to draw out trends within this increasingly important sector of the economy.

Design/methodology/approach

The study reports on a research project which comprises the latest phase in a seven‐year, longitudinal study of the richest 200 Asian business people in the UK.

Findings

The analysis suggests that the Asian business community has delivered significant and sustained growth which is higher than average growth in the UK.

Originality/value

For policy makers and the business support community, this paper offers a greater understanding of the dynamics behind the success stories and thus offers opportunities to tailor any engagement with this community appropriately. For academics it adds to the growing literature of minority ethnic businesses in the UK.

Details

Equal Opportunities International, vol. 27 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0261-0159

Keywords

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