Health and performance in small enterprises : studies of organizational determinants and change strategy
Abstract: The present thesis focuses on relations between work organizational factors and outcomes related to health and performance, and how these factors and outcomes are related to change strategies in small enterprises. Reasons for this work are the growing interest in entrepreneurship, small business development, statements to the effect that small enterprises lack adequate resources and competence needed for successful management of workplace change processes and fragmented small business research about mentioned relations. The thesis comprises four empirical studies with a total sample of 118 small enterprises and 50 small public workplaces that include a total of 1206 co-workers and leaders, and one more theoretically based study. Data was collected by the use of questionnaires, structured interviews and by register sources about economical outputs. Correlation analyses presented in Paper II showed strong or rather strong relationships between the outcome indicators related to health and performance. The relations between these outcomes and indicators of assumed determinant organizational factors resulted in a rather large number of relationships (Paper I, II and V). A general result is that there are more strong relationships between determinants and performance than between determinants and health. However, there are strong relations between, on the one hand, leadership indicators and team spirit and, on the other hand, health. Structural analyses in two studies presented in Paper I and II resulted in the identification of six components. Thus, it was possible to group indicators into larger "bundles" which have similarities to some results for larger enterprises. In one study (Paper II), analyses using multidimensional scaling resulted in a grouping of enterprises with high positions versus enterprises with low positions on two main dimensions. Results in one study (Paper IV) showed that studied micro-enterprises attached less priority to goals related to workplace health and work organization compared to the studied public workplaces. The micro- enterprises attached more priority to goals connected with the physical working environment, production and quality development. In another study (Paper V) different change strategy approaches were studied with a longitudinal design. The results concerning changes of determinants and outcomes, after versus before workplace related interventions indicates that change processes with a broad learning strategy and high top management involvement can apply to small enterprises, and help to improve their health and performance. This is partly in line with the discussion in Paper III about the need of integrated planning and participative approaches in workplace change processes. The thesis findings point at the importance of organizational factors and health related aspects for small business development.
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