Book Chapter

Exploring Change in Small Firms' HRM Practices



Wapshott R, Mallett O & Spicer D (2014) Exploring Change in Small Firms' HRM Practices. In: Machado C & Davim J (eds.) Work Organization and Human Resource Management. Management and Industrial Engineering. Management and Industrial Engineering. London: Springer International Publishing, pp. 73-92.

The academic literature widely acknowledges changes and variation in the practices of small firms but only a small amount of empirical work has explored the processes through which HRM practices undergo change. Research has tended, instead, to examine the presence and effectiveness of HRM in small firms and often viewed this in terms of a deficit model relating such practices to an understanding of HRM derived from larger firms. This chapter focuses on the recruitment and selection and staff payment practices in use in three small services firms to explore the everyday, ongoing detail of their HRM processes and practices. Identifying the different processes through which recruitment and selection and staff payment practices changed in the participant firms provides a base for discussing persistent forms of informality and the lack of stability that reflects the everyday realities of the firms, not only in contrast to their formalized policies but in engagement with them. This chapter advances understanding of selected HRM practices in small services firms after periods of formalisation and adoption of HRM policies and practices. The chapter also discusses how developing knowledge of small firms’ HRM practices in this way has implications for researchers and practitioners.

Small Firm; Human Resource Management; Employment Relationship; Change

FundersEconomic and Social Research Council
Title of seriesManagement and Industrial Engineering
Publication date31/12/2014
Publication date online08/05/2014
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Place of publicationLondon
ISSN of series2365-0532
ISBN9783319063751; 9783319063768

People (1)


Professor Oliver Mallett

Professor Oliver Mallett

Professor of Entrepreneurship, Management, Work and Organisation