Project's main goals, objectives and challenges
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are seen as a key lever to economic development, notably in economies dominated by the service sector. At the same time, human capital or human resources is a key competitive advantage for any enterprise. However, even if evidence on effective Human Resource Management (HRM) systems in larger organizations is abundant, there is a gap on scientific evidence on effective HRM systems for SMEs. HRM in SMEs aims at studying HRM in SMEs, to identify and propose best practices that support and enhance innovation and business performance. We will develop and run a survey on dominant HRM practices in European (Greek, Cypriote, Irish, English, and from other collaborating countries) SMEs. The purpose is to measure the impact of HRM practices on innovation and organizational performance in SMEs, by answering to 3 questions:
1. Which are the dominant HRM practice configurations in SMEs?
To answer this question, the unit of analysis is the firm and the respondent is the person responsible for HRM. A questionnaire will be developed based on systematic literature review and an exploratory series of in-depth interviews with SME owners and managers, followed by discussions among HRM and SME management academics (the HRMinSMEs members and collaborators in partner Universities). The questionnaire will be developed in English, translated into Greek, back-translated and pilot tested.
2. Are HRM practice configurations in SMEs linked with specific business demographics?
This is a rather descriptive research aim. We attempt to formulate profiles of HRM application for SMES, using cluster analysis and/or fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA).
3. Which HRM practice configurations in SMEs lead to higher innovation and business outcomes?
This is a prescriptive research aim. We attempt to identify the dominant profiles of HRM application in the best performing SMES, using Generalized Structural Equation Modeling. The main goal is practically to identify and propose to SMEs sets of High Performance Work Systems, as is the case in larger organizations. Figure 1 shows the relations under study in the project.