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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…

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

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Article
Publication date: 4 September 2017

Hande Karadag

Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are crucial for socio-economic growth due to their significant role in creating new workforce, gross domestic product increase…

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2089

Abstract

Purpose

Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are crucial for socio-economic growth due to their significant role in creating new workforce, gross domestic product increase, innovation and entrepreneurship. This paper aims to examine financial management performance in SMEs with regard to industry, firm age and education level of owner/managers differences.

Design/methodology/approach

The data used in the study are collected from 188 SMEs through structured questionnaires, and three hypotheses regarding the associations are tested by using structural equation modeling.

Findings

Findings of one-way ANOVA tests indicate that performance in financial management practices has a strong and positive correlation with education level of small business owner/managers, whereas no significant difference is found regarding SMEs operating in different industries. For the impact of company age, independent samples t-test is conducted, and a meaningful difference between small- and medium-sized companies which are five years or older and younger is found.

Research limitations/implications

This study shows that a significant difference for age of an SME is present between over and under five-year-old SMEs, with respect to financial management performance, which is an important finding for both small business and financial management literatures. The tests regarding the particular hypotheses about education level of SME owner/managers indicate that education level of SME owner/managers significantly impacts financial management performance.

Practical implications

The present study provides important practical implications. First, the importance of education level of owner/managers on SME financial performance is highlighted. Second, strong empirical support is found for the impact of company age on SME performance, which might be discussed as the importance of accumulation of knowledge of the owner/managers and the changes required with the growth patterns of the company, with increasing company age. Third, the study shows that industry differences do not exhibit a significant performance variation factor in financial management of SMEs, with respect to other demographic factors. Overall, these contributions help us better understand the financial management performance indicators in small and medium sized businesses.

Originality/value

This study focuses on company age, education level and industry differences with respect to financial management performance in SMEs in emerging economies, therefore provides additional empirical evidence to a research area where very few empirical studies exist.

Details

Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies, vol. 9 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2053-4604

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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…

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1687

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

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Article
Publication date: 1 November 1997

Gerald Vinten, David A. Lane and Nicky Hayes

There can be no doubt that the small and medium sized enterprise (SME) plays a pivotal role in most if not all economies, and that social policy makers have an interest in…

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1311

Abstract

There can be no doubt that the small and medium sized enterprise (SME) plays a pivotal role in most if not all economies, and that social policy makers have an interest in ensuring the viability of this sector of the economy, which plays a crucial role in the contract culture of national and international competitiveness. Quite apart from the essential symbiosis between the large multinationals and public limited companies and this sector, the sustainability of unemployment benefit payouts would be jeopardised should the sector experience a significant downturn. There are already worldwide concerns about the ability to continue to finance state pensions at anything like the present scale, and any loss of viability of the SME sector will simply exacerbate this situation. There are also useful reciprocations to be achieved by comparisons across sectors, including in significant areas such as internal control (Vinten, Lane, Hayes, 1996). The recent flurry of activity has included initiatives of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales 1996) and the information needs of owners (Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales 1996a), an Auditing Practices Board (1996) Practice Note, and a Department of Trade and Industry Consultation Document (DTI 1996).

Details

Management Research News, vol. 20 no. 11
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0140-9174

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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

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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…

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2934

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

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Article
Publication date: 10 July 2017

Raphael Odoom, Priscilla Mensah and George Asamoah

This paper aims to draw on the organizational ecology theory to examine variations in branding efforts and performance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to draw on the organizational ecology theory to examine variations in branding efforts and performance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across enterprises sizes and business operating sectors.

Design/methodology/approach

A four-stage analysis involving principal component analysis, Pearson correlation, ANOVA and logistic regressions was used on a sample of 430 SMEs within an emerging market.

Findings

Principal component analysis identified four brand marketing efforts relevant to the SMEs. These efforts were used in fluctuating extents among small-sized versus medium-sized enterprises, as well as manufacturing versus services SMEs. Additionally, proportionate levels of performance corollaries were found to be accruable across the enterprise sizes and operating sectors.

Originality/value

The paper first identifies four brand-building efforts germane to SMEs within an emerging market and examines their precise contributions to firm performance within enterprise sizes and business operating sectors. It further reinforces the relevance of brand marketing programs to the growth of SMEs by establishing the likelihood and extent to which brand-building efforts impact on SME performance across enterprise sizes, as well as operating sectors. The study also presents issues of potential research and managerial interest from an emerging market, offering insightful implications to researchers and SME managers.

Details

Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, vol. 19 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-5201

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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.

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2525

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

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1999

J.G. Boocock, J. Loan‐Clarke, A.J. Smith and J. Whittaker

This paper presents findings from a major research study investigating management training and development (MTD) activity within small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs…

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2181

Abstract

This paper presents findings from a major research study investigating management training and development (MTD) activity within small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) in the East Midlands. Despite the fact that the academic evidence linking training and development with business performance remains inconclusive, the previous UK Government clearly signalled the importance of improving skills levels to promote business success. The Training and Enterprise Councils (TECs) are charged with a key role in stimulating MTD activity within SMEs, a sector where MTD has traditionally been given a low priority. The system of government‐backed support for SMEs is currently under review, and the continued existence of the TECs in their present form largely depends upon their ability to provide proactive, tailored solutions to local business needs. It is, therefore, an extremely opportune time to review the TECs’ performance. Based on detailed analysis of the activities of six TECs in the East Midlands, the paper examines how they define MTD, establish the MTD needs of SMEs within their respective catchment areas, and formulate appropriate strategies to meet those needs. The reasons why generic MTD products are not generally taken up by SMEs are explored; supply‐side obstacles hinder the promotion of generic products by the TECs and demand is constrained as owner‐managers are reluctant to adopt such initiatives, although the boundaries between these two sets of factors are blurred. After reviewing the ways in which the TECs evaluate their activities, the paper concludes by offering some recommendations as to how the TECs could increase the take‐up of MTD by SMEs and improve the targeting of SMEs for assistance.

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2000

Andrew L. Friedman, Samantha Miles and Cameron Adams

Small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) are under increasing pressure to address environmental issues from a range of sources, including legislation, supply chain, trade…

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2158

Abstract

Small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) are under increasing pressure to address environmental issues from a range of sources, including legislation, supply chain, trade associations and customers. Addressing environmental awareness, not to mention sustainability, is a complex issue for SMEs, exacerbated by a lack of time, resources and environmental expertise. Consequently, many initiatives have been developed to direct and support SMEs. This paper is concerned with an initial evaluation of one such initiative based on a grounded theory approach. This process highlights the practical issues SMEs face when trying to implement environmental issues as workable company policies. A “gap” between developers and users in terms of the achievable outcomes perceived and obtained from such initiatives is also highlighted. To date, little has been written about the problems SMEs face in addressing environmental issues. This paper attempts to highlight some of these problems and, more importantly, promote further debate and discussion.

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 7 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

Keywords

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