Elgar original reference
Edited by Rowena Barrett and Susan Mayson
Heﬁn David and Gerald Watts Introduction For most small ﬁrm owners the employment of others is an essential condition for ﬁrm growth, as it can overcome constraints on human capital and enable scale increases. It is a signiﬁcant step for the owner, marking a shift to a new role with new responsibilities and perhaps changes to their selfconcept. It can also signal change in the way the owner relates to the ﬁrm and thinks about its future. The employment decision is also important for other stakeholders in the small ﬁrm. Most notably it is important for the new employee, who will become a signiﬁcant member of the growing business and play an important role in its development. Governments (local, regional and national) also see the transition from non-employer to employer as being important in terms of the impact on employment, economic growth and social capital. Literature examining the concept of human resource management (HRM) in small ﬁrms has grown signiﬁcantly in recent years (see for example Barrett and Mayson, 2006; Marlow, 2006; Ram, 1994; 1999; Ram and Edwards, 2003; Taylor, 2006). Yet there is little research about the ﬁrst employment decision, despite the criticality of this to the ﬁrm’s growth and the owner’s personal development. The purpose of this chapter, therefore, is to report on the initial ﬁndings of case studies of ﬁve small business owners, where their personal approach to the ﬁrst employment decision is explored. In these cases, employment is conceptualized as a learning...
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