HRM in the SME sector: valuable employees and coercive networks

Nick Bacon, Kim Hoque

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

162 Citations (Scopus)


Although the productivity and survival of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may be enhanced if they adopt human resource management (HRM) practices, there is a far greater degree of informality in employment practices in SMEs than in larger workplaces. The aim of this paper is to assess the extent to which a range of factors both internal and external to the workplace predict the extent to which HRM practices have been adopted in SMEs. Using data from the 1998 Workplace Employee Relations Survey, the analysis reveals that differences in workforce skill-mix, unionization and the customer base are important influences, with the first of these influences being particularly strong. As such, we suggest SMEs may lack the capability to develop HRM practices, but they are more likely to adopt such practices if they employ highly skilled employees and are networked to other organizations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1978-1999
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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