It's a small world: managing human resources in small business

Bacon, Nicolas; Ackers, Peter; Storey, John and Coates, David (1996). It's a small world: managing human resources in small business. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 7(1) pp. 82–100.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09585199600000119

Abstract

It has become widely acknowledged that, during the past decade or so, large mainstream companies in the UK have adopted a new agenda for managing people. Relatively little is known about the impact of this new agenda on small businesses. The small business sector has been long regarded as the natural home for ‘bleak house’ employment relations practices typified by direct management control, poor terms and conditions, high staff turnover and little training. In March 1993, however, a large survey of 560 companies in Leicestershire revealed a surprisingly high take-up and awareness of new management ideas among small business managers. These findings are at odds with a crude ‘bleak house’ scenario. This large-scale telephone survey was then followed up with detailed case study research. This article presents and reflects upon the evidence and reformulates ideas about people management in small businesses.

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