How Does Growth Affect the Construct and Practice of Values within SMEs?

Lead Research Organisation: Royal Holloway, University of London
Department Name: Sch of Management


Our values are an essential driver in any decisionmaking
we make; they are the end goals that we as
an individual, or as a collection of individuals,
fervently wish to see achieved, or the means by
which we believe goals should be met. This vital
import of values within human-decision making has
been acknowledged by businesses across the world,
and is evidenced by the time and effort directed by
many of the largest firms in the UK and globally
towards distilling and publishing a set of core
organisation values. Such values are designed to
drive desired behaviour, by being designed and
promoted to be at the heart of all decision-making
within an organisation, for example Unilever
champions 'responsibility', 'integrity', 'respect' and
'pioneering' as core organisational values.
Consequently, considerable academic attention, as a
subset of the wide business ethics and
organisational behaviour literature, has been
directed towards researching values in a corporate
context, be that at an individual, team or
organisational level. Per contra, substantially less
research and investigation into the practice of values
has been conducted within Small and Medium-Sized
Enterprises (SMEs), those organisations with less
than 250 employees, despite the overwhelming
majority of businesses in the UK being SMEs.
Furthermore, the SME sector provides a unique and
compelling opportunity to undertake research on
values, due to the antipodean nature of these
organisations to their corporate counterparts.
Notably, SMEs possess a plethora of unique
characteristics, for example embeddedness within
the local environment, less formalised structure and
greater flexibility, in tandem with the economic and
the financial turbulence they frequently endure.
Given SMEs' particular propensity for change this
research seeks through a series of semi-structured
interviews to investigate the construct and practice
of values within SMEs as they grow, evolve and
adapt, from start-up to maturity.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P00072X/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
1928522 Studentship ES/P00072X/1 19/09/2017 30/09/2020 Simon Oldham