Adoption of human resource practices within a South African small business: a case study

17 August 2015

Until recently, human resource management has been considered inappropriate and too costly for small businesses and consequently research in this direction has been at a relatively minimum level. It is also evident that the effectiveness and competitiveness of SMEs can be increased through the application of sound HRM practices. In order to establish how SMEs can successfully apply HRM, the objective of this study is to establish, in an exploratory manner, the applicability of HRM in a small business in order to ensure its effective operation and consequent competitiveness. The research method applied is an interpretive and qualitative approach by means of a single case study of a photographic equipment store. The owner-manager perceives that personnel problems pose a major barrier to the success of the business; however, he also believes that outside aid in HRM would not resolve the problems. The HRM process of the SME growth model adds value in the sense that it also illustrates the relationship between the owner-manager's personal characteristics, external market conditions, nature of the work environment, and the business structure. Given the small business-specific problems that were identified, the information obtained in this study paves the way for a quantitative study of a number of SMEs and comparative research.