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Title: Management, strategy and policy in the UK small business sector
Author: Beaver, Graham
ISNI:       0000 0004 2749 3706
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2003
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The thesis begins with a schedule of the published works and examines their nature, position, contribution and significance. An explanation of the type and context of paper, together with the research method are provided. Where they have been the subject of third party endorsement and critical assessment, such as citations and commendations, these have been included. The introductory chapter examines a number of themes that are addressed by the published works. The first considers the role and characteristics of the small firm and its collective, the small business sector. A critical examination of the small firm discourse and research agenda is provided, integrating the published works and their contribution. The second theme examines the small firm from an economic perspective, specifically focusing on governance and objectives. Within mainstream economics there persists an allegiance to theories and models of small firm inception, growth and development, which essentially deny a role to the centrality of the owner manager and/or entrepreneur. It is the puipose of this section to redress this concern and to engage in critical theoretical and empirical enquiry that incoiporates the core issues of entrepreneurial characteristics and motivations. The third theme examines the nature of management and the small firm. The particular characteristics of small firms require a different appreciation of management understanding, with many of the methods and techniques in the corporate sector having limited applicability, validity and relevance. Several of the published works endorse this finding and offer a critical reflection of the small business management context. The nature of small business strategy is then critically explored. Strategic management, as an emerging and increasingly sophisticated body of theory, tools and techniques, is still more applicable and more closely associated with the corporate sector, due principally to the design school approach in analysing, prescribing and legitimising strategic actions. A critical appraisal of this approach suggests that strategic activity in the small firm sector is much more informal, intuitive and invisible than has been previously suggested by design school advocates. It is contended in a number of the published works, that strategy is emergent and instinctive rather than fixed and regulated as this approach is more appropriate and efficient for the majority of small enterprises to deploy when integrating their business activities with the competitive environment. The final theme of the chapter examines the role and development of policy and its effects on the survival, growth and performance of small firms. It is contended that despite considerable progress there remains a need for government to promote greater clarity and continuity in articulating policy towards small firms, and especially to differentiate between small firms that have the ambition to grow and embrace innovation and risk-taking strategic management practice, and those that do not. This is a recunent theme endorsed by several of the published works. Furthermore, it is argued that there is a need to encourage ambition for growth and its associated tolerance of calculated risk taking. If there is to be an innovation policy for small businesses and the goal is a more prosperous economy with increased employment opportunities, then public intervention must come down in favour of encouraging entrepreneurial motives. The thesis concludes with a critical overview of the published works and their contribution to the development of research in management, strategy and policy in the UK small business sector.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Entrepreneurship and planning