Gabalova, Lidiya Petrova; McKie, Linda J.
’The Five Fingers of My Hand’ : Human Capital and Well-being in SMEs – Evidence from Bulgaria, Finland and Scotland
Personnel Review, 42(6), pp.662-683
Galabova, L. and McKie, L. (2013), “’The Five Fingers of My Hand’: Human Capital and Well-being in SMEs – Evidence from Bulgaria, Finland and Scotland”, Personnel Review, Volume 42, Issue 6, pp.662-683. ISSN 0048-3486. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/PR-01-2012-0017
Human capital; Knowledge-based economy; Small and medium sized enterprises; Well-being
This paper aims to explore the SME managers' understanding of, and attitudes towards human capital (HC) and well-being as factors impacting on the business performance of their organizations. Design/methodology/approach: The study from which this paper reports included qualitative data collected through 42 semi-structured interviews with senior managers of SMEs from growth industries in the service sector. Research was undertaken in three European Union countries: Scotland (UK), Finland and Bulgaria. These countries are considered to be at different stages in the development of a knowledge-based economy (KBE) and innovation. Findings: It is evident that whilst SME managers are interested in knowledge, skills and experience as key elements of HC, peoples' soft skills and attributes, such as attitude, willingness and ability to learn and develop, and enthusiasm about the(ir) work are often considered more important. HC is seen as potentially an abundant resource, providing scope for competitive advantage at both personal and enterprise levels. Practical implications: The key findings from this paper inform future policy and HRM practices in respect to the development of a KBE through highlighting positive impacts for SMEs' strategy management practice. Social implications: The key findings from this paper inform future policy and HRM practices in respect to the development of a KBE through highlighting positive impacts for SMEs' strategy management practice. Originality/value: This paper indenties SME managers recognition of individual's potential to gain new knowledge coupled with a willingness to learn as important - and often more so than formal knowledge and experience. It gives valuable insights about well-being viewed through the prism of SME management. It offers opportunities for personal development as well as the acquisition of new knowledge and skills. These can have a positive impact on potential employability and also the evaluation job content.