The Embeddedness of Productivity and Performance: Towards a Framework Based on Small Firms

50 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2008

See all articles by Paul K. Edwards

Paul K. Edwards

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School

Chin-Ju Tsai

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School

Sukanya Sen Gupta

Cardiff University

Monder Ram

De Montfort University - School of Business; University of Birmingham - Birmingham Business School

Date Written: March 16, 2005

Abstract

The role of human resource management practices in promoting the performance of firms is widely debated. Yet much of the debate has reached an impasse, with uncertain results as to which practices in fact work and why. It has, moreover, rarely gone beyond the context of large firms. This paper offers a different approach to small firms. It draws on institutional theory to outline the contexts in which small firms operate and the resources on which they draw. It then develops a formal framework (reflecting firms' economic context, strategies, and resources) that is illustrated through seven distinct types of firm and two real cases. The meaning of performance, and the relevance of ideas of high performance, is shown to vary between these types. Performance is embedded in the structure and operation of firms, and institutional analysis helps us move beyond approaches dominated by a search for a disembodied set of best practices.

Suggested Citation

Edwards, Paul K. and Tsai, Chin-Ju and Sen Gupta, Sukanya and Ram, Monder, The Embeddedness of Productivity and Performance: Towards a Framework Based on Small Firms (March 16, 2005). Advanced Institute of Management Research Paper No. 016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1306964 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1306964

Paul K. Edwards (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

Chin-Ju Tsai

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

Sukanya Sen Gupta

Cardiff University ( email )

Aberconway Building
Colum Drive
Cardiff, Wales CF10 3EU
United Kingdom

Monder Ram

De Montfort University - School of Business ( email )

Department of Corporate Strategy
Leicester LE1 9BH
United Kingdom
+44 116 255.1551 (Phone)
+44 116 251.7548 (Fax)

University of Birmingham - Birmingham Business School ( email )

Edgbaston Park Road
Birmingham, B15 2TY
United Kingdom

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