Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research
Edited by Robert Blackburn, Frédéric Delmar, Alain Fayolle and Friederike Welter
Chapter 5: Differences in key employees by firm age and entrepreneurial orientation
On average in 2007, just over 5.1 million employees on payroll, or 48 per cent of the total private sector labour force, worked for small enterprises (those with fewer than 100 employees), constituting 98 per cent of all businesses in Canada (Industry Canada, 2009). Although human capital is an important indicator of organizational success (Altinay et al., 2008; Manigart et al., 2007), small firms are often faced with more competition for human capital (Marchington, Carroll and Boxall, 2003), less access to a quality labour pool (Hornsby and Kuratko, 1990) and experience greater rates of failure (e.g., Strotmann, 2007) than larger firms. Additionally, in a replication of their earlier study, Hornsby and Kuratko (2003) concluded that there had been little advancement in the sophistication of HR practices over the previous 10 years. Despite this evidence, much entrepreneurial research focuses upon firms that target high growth, and who quickly leave small business status behind. Yet this is an important oversight because SMEs are faced with greater challenges than larger organizations in retaining and attracting key employees (e.g., Ritchie in Carroll et al., 1999). This research aims to better understand the types of individuals who are considered to be key employees by SME owners. Researchers have related firm traits and owner characteristics to SME survival (Bates, 2005).
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