The effects of varying forms and degrees of government intervention upon the effective competitiveness of UK small businesses
This doctoral thesis responds to the need for greater understanding of small businesses and their inherent unique problem-types. Integral to the investigation is the theme that for governments to effectively influence small business, a sound understanding of the factors they are seeking to influence is essential. Moreover, the study, in its recognition of the many shortcomings in management research and, in particular that the research methods and approaches adopted often fail to give adequate understanding of issues under study, attempts to develop an innovative and creative research approach. The aim thus being to produce, not only advances in small business management knowledge from the standpoints of government policy makers and `lq recipient small business, but also insights into future potential research method for the continued development of that knowledge. The origins of the methodology lay in the non-acceptance of traditional philosophical positions in epistemology and ontology, with a philosophical standpoint of internal realism underpinning the research. Internal realism presents the basis for the potential co-existence of qualitative and quantitative research strategy and underlines the crucial contributory role of research method in provision of ultimate factual status of the assertions of research findings. The concept of epistemological bootstrapping is thus used to develop a `lq partial research framework to foothold case study research, thereby avoiding limitations of objectivism and brute inductivism. The major insights and issues highlighted by the `lq bootstrap, guide the researcher around the participant case studies. A novel attempt at contextualist (linked multi-level and processual) analysis was attempted in the major in-depth case study, with two further cases playing a support role and contributing to a balanced emphasis of empirical research within the context of time constraints inherent within part-time research.