How do regulations affect SMEs? A review of the qualitative evidence and a research agenda



Mallett O, Wapshott R & Vorley T (2019) How do regulations affect SMEs? A review of the qualitative evidence and a research agenda. International Journal of Management Reviews, 21 (3), pp. 294-316.

The effects of regulations on SMEs have garnered significant political attention internationally yet, in the academic literature, these effects remain contested. This article presents findings from a systematic literature review of qualitative evidence on the effects of regulation on SMEs. We set out the strengths of qualitative approaches in relation to other, more dominant and influential quantitative approaches. We conduct a thematic synthesis of the qualitative research to develop a conceptual framework that provides a processual, embedded understanding of the effects of regulations on SMEs. The conceptual framework highlights four key, interconnected processes: identification-interpretation; strategisation; negotiation; adaptation. This conceptual framework generates insights into dynamic and potentially indirect effects of regulations in relation to a complex array of influences external to and within the business. On the basis of these insights we propose a new research agenda.

growth; policy; regulation; small and medium-sized enterprises

International Journal of Management Reviews: Volume 21, Issue 3

FundersDepartment for Business, Innovation & Skills
Publication date31/07/2019
Publication date online22/07/2018
Date accepted by journal17/06/2018

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Professor Oliver Mallett

Professor Oliver Mallett

Professor of Entrepreneurship, Management, Work and Organisation