International Handbook of Entrepreneurship and HRM
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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.
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Chapter 20: Daily Learning, Job Design and Problem-Solving in SMEs

Grahame Boocock, Kevin Daniels, Jane Glover and Julie Holland


Grahame Boocock, Kevin Daniels, Jane Glover and Julie Holland Introduction The emergence of innovative firms is the cornerstone of a competitive industrial society. Innovative firms are involved in the creation, development and introduction of new products and services, or new procedures or processes, for the benefit of one or more of the stakeholders in an organization (Birchall et al., 1996) and such firms raise the threshold of technology and create the potential for increased productivity (Huntsman and Hoban, 1980). In the US, smaller firms have generally been more effective contributors than large players in enhancing innovation (Bygrave and Timmons, 1992; Almus and Nerlinger, 1999), although it is important to keep a sense of perspective. Innovation in capital-intensive industries tends be located in large firms. However, the pace of economic and technical change in an increasingly global marketplace is breaking down established patterns of business and trade, creating opportunities for even the smallest and newest firms to enter overseas markets – these are the ‘born global firms’ or ‘instant internationals’ (McDougall and Oviatt, 2000). Opportunities for rapid expansion are available to entrepreneurial firms that seek to create wealth by meeting genuine needs in the marketplace (Becherer and Maurer, 1999). The ability to solve customers’ problems underpins small firm growth in a knowledge-driven global economy. Beaver (2002: p. 74, Example 5.4.) summarizes the principal strategic imperatives for growth as: concentrate on industries facing substantial technological or regulatory changes, especially those in the early, high-growth stages of evolution; differentiate products or...

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