At the Lancashire Institute for Economic and Business Research (LIEBR) Professor Philip B. Whyman and Dr. Alina Petrescu have been a conducting research into Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in order to assess the impact and relationships between workplace flexibility practices used in organisations and organisational performance.
The main elements of our research can be succinctly described as follows.
The SME research in 2011 is a novel and extensive research project into practices which can best equip SMEs during the current difficult economic conditions as Britain recovers from recession.
Primary data has been collected via the SME Survey 2011 which is the second wave of our planned research series focused on the use of workplace flexibility practices by SMEs. It comprises two surveys:
The SME Survey 2011 expands the initial SME research in 2009 by following up the Lancashire-based SMEs respondents from in 2009, as well as by initiating a nationally-representative SME survey. The project involves conducting primary field research in summer 2011, currently ongoing until the end of August 2011. It samples a total of 10,000 SMEs, of which 1,500 organisations are located in Lancashire and 8,500 are sampled from a national dataset.
We are interested in a wide set of practices, counting more than 40 (see glossary), used by SMEs as they try to compete in a climate of strenuous economic recovery after the recent recession in Britain. Examples of WFPs included in our SME Survey 2011 are:
The main aim of the project is increasing the current understanding of how British SMEs cope with the current difficult economic conditions and the decisions they make related to their workplace flexibility profiles. Questions we hope to be able to answer are:
Answers to these questions can both inform policy makers and highlight best practice. Thus, the SME Survey 2011 will provide the valuable opportunity to bring to light new information about how organisations and the British economy can recover better from the recent recession.
We acknowledge the funding from the Undergraduate Research Internship Scheme (URIS) at UCLan which offers students the opportunity to work with UCLan academics on research projects. Our intern student at the Lancashire Business School this summer, for 10 weeks, is David Martin Jackson.
We also gratefully acknowledge the support for this research at the national level by the Forum of Private Business and the Federation of Small Businesses, as well as locally by the Preston City Council and the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.
Note: If you were an SME organisation who completed our SME Survey 2011, please make a note of this file where reports/research dissemination opportunities shall be added in due course. The survey had been open until Sunday the 28th of August 2011 at 18:00.
LIEBR - SME Survey 2009 Wave - Survey and Report Completed
UCLan Annual Staff and Research Student Symposium, presentation by Dr Alina Petrescu:
Whyman, P. B. and Petrescu, A. I. (2010) 'The effects of economic recession on small and medium enterprises in Lancashire". July. University of Central Lancashire, Preston, U.K.
Whyman, P. B. and Petrescu, A. I. (2011) "Economic recession and workplace flexibility practices in Lancashire-based SMEs", Research Report, Lancashire Business School Workplace Flexibility Series, LIEBR,. University of Central Lancashire, March, ISSN 2064-9276.
Available to download here.
Journal Article: submitted for publication in February 2011 (waiting for editors to reply), based on the working paper:
Note: Despite our initial intentions, it was not feasible to hold a seminar for the dissemination of results from the SME Survey 2009 Wave to the survey respondents from summer 2009. Similarly, the survey did not run in 2010. This was due to Dr. Alina Petrescu being on maternity leave (October 2009 - July 2010).
So we apologise to the 2009 SME respondents, who may have been waiting for a seminar date for research dissemination and offer them instead the chance to read the research report.
Moreover, we are doing our best in terms of continuous data collection: to compensate for not collecting data in 2010, the SME Survey 2011 also contains some retrospective questions covering the year July 2009- July 2010.
The SME research in 2009 was a large research project into SMEs workplace flexibility practices and organisational performance, conducted amid the difficult economic climate of the "credit crunch" recession in 2009.
Primary data was collected via the Lancashire SME Survey 2009 which was the first wave of our planned research series focused on the use of workplace flexibility practices by SMEs.
Which organisations were surveyed?
This 10-week project involved conducting primary field work in summer 2009 on a sample of over 2,000 Lancashire-based SMEs with regard to assessing the incidence, extent and links between workplace flexibility practices and organisational performance.
Which practices were surveyed?
We were interested in a set of practices encompassing over 60 WFPs.
We are grateful to the Lancashire Business School for the financial support given to this research project as part of its Research Internships Funding Scheme in 2009. This scheme aimed to give students experience of real research projects as well as offer them the opportunity to gain excellent employability skills and a better understanding of the role that research plays in academia, practice and university life. In relation to this, we thank Michael Bowerman, who worked dutifully as the Intern Student at Lancashire Business School for 10 weeks in summer 2009.
Finally, we thank all the SME participants in the Lancashire survey, and we look forward to their repeat participation in our further surveys.