The Policy Research Group recently presented their research on growth dispositions of small business owners at a mini-conference organised by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills at the Shard. The research, conducted in conjunction with the prestigious Enterprise Research Centre at Aston University, analyses why some owners want to grow their business while others don’t – ‘why many businesses fail to become more productive and fail to grow despite having the potential to do so’, as the research brief outlined.
A buoyant small business sector is vital to the success of the UK economy, but most small businesses never grow or, at best, achieve only modest growth. So, understanding the factors that drive and shape small business performance is a key concern for not just academics but also policymakers, helping them to devise more effective ways to overcome barriers to growth.
PRG researchers, Paul Braidford, Gordon Allinson and Maxine Houston contributed by focusing on the way in which the owners presented narratives about themselves, their backgrounds and their important life events, giving insights into the sociological reasons lying behind their attitudes and behaviours. In particular their research suggests ways to try and shape more positive attitudes towards business growth – for example, by better informing the way in which business support is targeted and delivered, or developing ‘social spaces’ to promote networking between growth-inclined owners and those who want less growth. The full report is now available here: BIS-15-482-sociology-of-enterprise