his.sePublications
Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
Work-family interface: coping strategies in growing family SMEs
University of Skövde, School of Business. University of Skövde, Enterprises for the Future. (Strategic Entrepreneurship (StrEnt))ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4776-0085
University of Skövde, School of Business. University of Skövde, Enterprises for the Future. (Knowledge, Innovation and Marketing (KIM))ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9579-3266
2019 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

SMEs may be more vulnerable because of their limited resources (Falkner & Hiebl, 2015). SMEs’ success is often dependent on their owner managers, e.g. their attitude towards growth may differ substantively (Achtenhagen, Naldi, & Melin, 2010; Jaouen & Lasch, 2015). For instance, Davidsson argued that not all small firm owners are willing to grow because they, e.g., fear that growth will endanger employee well-being and the owners will lose control (Davidsson, 1989, 1991). The ability of owner managers to follow a growth strategy may in part also be dependent on how the owner manager is able to handle its life outside the business (Jennings & McDougald, 2007), e.g. the family embeddedness (Aldrich & Cliff, 2003).

More recent research has called for studies investigating, e.g. the work–family (WF) interactions in businesses run by male and female entrepreneurs (Adkins, Samaras, Gilfillan, & McWee, 2013; Ahl, 2006). Extant research has started looking at motives and constrains of female entrepreneurs in regards to the work family interface (Adkins, et al., 2013; Ahl, 2006).

Research on work family interface is, in line with other areas, dominated by studies investigating the US-context, disregarding other contexts (Shaffer, Joplin, & Hsu, 2011). More and more researchers have called for further research on the interface between family and work life (Jaskiewicz, Combs, Shanine, & Kacmar, 2017; Nguyen & Sawang, 2016; Powell & Eddleston, 2017; Powell, Greenhaus, Allen, & Johnson, 2018). Therefore, we offer a new angle by investigating male entrepreneurs who can be considered successful in a Swedish context. Success in this context refers to a sustainable growth strategy in regards to growing the business considerably in both turnover and number of employees over a period of five years.

 Purpose/topic of research

The purpose of this study is to understand the work-family interface in small, growing family firms by answering the following research questions:

Which coping strategies are used to address conflicts in the work family interface?How do these strategies support work/life –balance and how to do they influence firm growth?

Research method

The authors of this study conducted a research project on SMEs which, after a period of stable performance in terms of turnover and number of employees, grew with 50% in bother turnover and number of employees over a consecutive period of five years. The study was conducted in the southwest of Sweden.

For this paper and purpose we selected three companies where the respondents had expressed that work-life-conflicts played a role for being able to focus on and execute a growth strategy.

The figures concerning turnover and number of employees were taken from the publicly available annual reports. The collection of this data was executed in 2017 and included annual reports from 2000 to 2016.

As part of the general study, the selected companies were interviewed. Before the interviews were conducted, the interviewees were contacted by email and afterwards by telephone. In this first telephone conversation, the general purpose of the study was explained. In the following face-to-face interviews the respondents, usually owner-managers, were interviewed, using a structured interview guideline. The guideline entailed open questions and scaled questions concerning reasons for growth, performance, change in ownership and management, entrepreneurial orientation, employee concerns, justice and equality.

 Theories used Coping strategies

The literature has come up with plenty of coping strategies that deal with how individual deal with issues that bothers them. In this study we draw on research with a connection to entrepreneurship and growth (Jennings & McDougald, 2007).

 Coping has been defined in psychological terms by Lazarus and Folkman (1984) as “constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific external and/or internal demands that are appraised as taxing”. Coping is expending conscious effort to solve personal and interpersonal problems, and seeking to master and minimize stress (Weiten & Lloyd, 2008). Psychological coping mechanisms are usually termed coping strategies or coping skills. Unconscious strategies are commonly excluded. The term coping generally refers to adaptive or constructive coping strategies. However, some coping strategies can also be considered maladaptive. Maladaptive coping can be described as non-coping. Furthermore, the term coping commonly refers to reactive coping. This contrasts with proactive coping, in which a coping response aims to head off a future stressor. Coping responses are partly controlled by personality, but also by the social context, particularly the stressful environment (Carver & Connor-Smith, 2010).

On growth

“Most firms start small, live small and die small” (Davidsson 2010, p. 23[BB1] ). Growth is not the norm, and the main reason that most firms do not grow is that they operate in mature industries and serves local markets (Davidsson 2010). For those firms that do grow the entrepreneur often plays an important role. Factors such as motivation, education, management experience, number of founders have been proven to influence growth in a positive direction. However, there is a lack of research regarding how different factors related to work-life balance affects firm growth.

Growth is usually defined as an increase in the amount of some measurable outcome, e.g. sales or employment (Cyron & Zoellick, 2018)(Cyron & Zoellick 2018, Davidsson 2010).

 Contribution of research

The research contributes insights on which and how male entrepreneurs use coping strategies to address conflicts in the work family interface.

Findings reveal the complex role of family which can both be an origin but also a solution to these conflicts.

The study further contributes to the ongoing debate concerning growth intension and growth ambition in the entrepreneurship literature. Especially in small family firms, growth is not only hindered by limited resources. At the same time, resources and obstacles for growth are complex.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
Coping strategies, family SMES, Growth, Work-life interface
National Category
Economics and Business
Research subject
Strategic Entrepreneurship; Knowledge and Innovation Management (KIM)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-16919OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-16919DiVA, id: diva2:1318214
Conference
15th EIASM Workshop on Family Firm Management Research, Family Entrepreneurship and Society, Nantes, France, May 23-25, 2019
Available from: 2019-05-27 Created: 2019-05-27 Last updated: 2019-08-08

Open Access in DiVA

No full text in DiVA

Authority records BETA

Boers, BörjeBrozovic, Danilo

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Boers, BörjeBrozovic, Danilo
By organisation
School of BusinessEnterprises for the Future
Economics and Business

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

urn-nbn

Altmetric score

urn-nbn
Total: 142 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf