Performance Management problem of 4 SMEs: towards a performance resolution

Mendy, John Performance Management problem of 4 SMEs: towards a performance resolution. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development . ISSN 1462-6004

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Abstract

Purpose
The purpose of this paper is to examine the underperformance problem of 4 UK-based SMEs
by using management’s and employees’ perspectives. This approach was adopted to develop a
performance resolution mechanism as a way to advance knowledge on this neglected aspect
within small Business and Management Studies.
Design/methodology/approach.
A survey of 85 employees and managers was used to provide conversational accounts of how
they addressed their individual and organisational underperformance. The data are analysed
using an interpretivist paradigm in order to develop a deeper understanding of how
underperformance was resolved in each of the 4 SMEs.
Findings
The 5 key findings of the study highlighted the adoption of tough performance measures, the
development of learning initiatives, the adaptation of roles, the redefinition of what a
performing SME employee meant and developing a performance resolution. The latter finding
is further sub-divided into three areas, which showed how the activities were practically
implemented in all 4 SMEs. The study’s findings reveal the crucial role of personal,
conversational agency and the impact of grassroots’ role redefinitions in addressing the
neglected aspect of how small firms can resolve their underperformance.
Practical implications
The study identifies key employee and management behaviours, attitudes and lived experiences
that need to fundamentally change in order to resolve the 4 SMEs’ underperformance. This has
been referred to as ‘performance resolution’ and serves as the study’s contribution. It highlights
the types of innovative actions that managers need to encourage in order to resolve SMEs’
underperformance.
Originality/value
Studies focusing on small businesses’ underperformance in the UK are a rarity. The paper
advances traditional performance literature whose focus on management and market
interventions neglects a more grassroots’ orientated employee learning and skills’ development
approach to resolve the problem. Additionally, a ‘can do’ employee attitude highlights a
practical as well as theoretically beneficial way that can add to the currently predominant
managerial approach. The study fillsthe performance implementation and theoretical gap faced
by academics, employees, managers and owner-entrepreneurs.

Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
ID Code:44595
Deposited On:15 Apr 2021 12:43

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