International Handbook of Entrepreneurship and HRM
Show Less

International Handbook of Entrepreneurship and HRM

Edited by Rowena Barrett and Susan Mayson

This invaluable reference tool has been designed in response to the growing recognition that too little is known about the intersection between entrepreneurship and human resource management. Paying particular attention to the ‘people’ side of venture emergence and development, it offers unique insights into the role that human resource management (HRM) plays in small and entrepreneurial firms.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 6: The Formality and Informality of HRM Practices in Small Firms

Rowena Barrett and Susan Mayson


6 The formality and informality of HRM practices in small firms Rowena Barrett and Susan Mayson Introduction The nature of human resource management in small firms is understood to be characterized by ad hoc and idiosyncratic practices. The liability of smallness (Heneman and Berkley, 1999) and resource poverty (Welsh and White, 1981) presents unique challenges to managing human resources in small firms. The inability to achieve economies of scale can mean that implementing formalized HRM practices is costly in terms of time and money for small firms (Sels et al., 2006a; 2006b). These, combined with small firm owner–managers’ lack of strategic capabilities and awareness (Hannon and Atherton, 1998) and a lack of managerial resources and expertise in HRM (Cardon and Stevens, 2004) can lead to informal and ad hoc HRM practices. For some this state of affairs is interpreted as problematic as the normative and formalized HRM practices in the areas of recruitment, selection, appraisal, training and rewards are not present (see Marlow, 2006 and Taylor, 2006 for a critique). However, a more nuanced analysis of the small firm and its practices in their context can tell a different story (Barrett and Rainnie, 2002; Harney and Dundon, 2006). In this chapter we contribute to our understanding of small firm management practices by investigating a series of questions in relation to HRM in small firms. The purpose is to understand what HRM practices are used in small firms and how they are applied. In light of the debates...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.