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The Characteristics Of Small Business Human Resources -A Comparison Of Small And Large Firms

L. Savery, T. Mazzarol
Published 2001 · Engineering

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Abstract This paper examines the characteristics of human resources management within small businesses and draws a statistical comparison with larger firms. It uses the results of the Australian Workplace Industrial Relations Survey (AWIRS) conducted in 1995. AWIRS is a study undertaken every five years since 1990 by the Australian government. This survey drew a sample of 2,001 workplaces with over 20 employees and 569 businesses employing less than 20 employees. The survey examined a broad range of human resource issues relating to such things as recruitment, termination, training, unionization, absenteeism and internal communications. The characteristics distinguishing the small firm approach to human resources management from their larger colleagues were examined. Findings suggest that small businesses tend to have less formal HRM procedures than do large firms. The findings provide preliminary results with implications for management and research. They suggest that small business managers need to focus more attention on the development of formal HRM systems as part of their business planning. Future research will make use of subsequent AWIRS surveys to explore its implications for small business management.
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