Do small firms fare better without a professional human resource manager?


We examine the direct and indirect effects of human resource (HR) informality—that is, not having a professional HR manager in post—on employee outcomes in growth‐oriented small firms. Drawing from literature of principal–agent relationship and trust, we theorise a moderated‐mediating model between HR informality and unfavourable employee outcomes through owner‐manager's distrust during firm growth. Based on matched employer–employee data from 543 small firms and their 4853 employees in the United Kingdom, the empirical results show a positive and significant association between HR informality and owner‐managers' distrust of staff, especially in multiple‐site (often a manifestation of growth‐oriented) small firms. Through this path, HR informality has a significant and adverse indirect effect on firm recorded staff voluntary turnover, absenteeism, number of dismissals and staff perceived collective trust in management, which counteracts its weak positive direct effect, thus leads to an overall negative impact. The theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School
College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Work & Organisational Psychology
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Centre for Critical Inquiry into Society and Culture (CCISC)
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors. European Management Review published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of European Academy of Management (EURAM). This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: ORIGINAL ARTICLE,ORIGINAL ARTICLES,employee outcomes,HR informality,manager's distrust,small firm growth,UK
Publication ISSN: 1740-4762
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2024 08:13
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2022 14:27
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://onlinel ... 1111/emre.12508 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2022-12-01
Published Online Date: 2022-03-02
Accepted Date: 2022-02-13
Submitted Date: 2020-01-19
Authors: Wang, Wen
Seifert, Roger
Theodorakopoulos, Nicholas (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-2262-0054)



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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