Employee involvement and participation in SMEs: a synthesis of extant research


  • Sylvia Rohlfer CUNEF




Human Resource Management, Small and Medium Sized Firms, Systematic Literature Review


It is widely acknowledged that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) cannot afford underutilize their workforce and owner/managers encourage ways to involve employees. In this article, we focus on what is known about formal employee involvement and participation (EIP) practice in SMEs. Based on a systematic, “aggregative” literature review (Briner and Denyer 2012; Gough et al. 2012) we identify key research on EIP in SMEs that is embedded in practice and provides utility for practitioners and policy makers. The findings not only allow us to comment briefly on the evolution of EIP research in SMEs, but to identify methodically what is known and not known about EIP practice in SMEs. We go therefore beyond the limited review provide by Sameer and Őzbilgin (2014) and identify with a higher level of confidence three key directions for future academic research.


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Author Biography

Sylvia Rohlfer, CUNEF

Ph.D. in Business Studies, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick (UK). Associate Professor of Organization and Management, CUNEF University, (Spain). Comparative industrial relations; people management in small businesses; contextual influences on entrepreneurship; innovative teaching approaches.


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How to Cite

Rohlfer, Sylvia. 2018. “Employee Involvement and Participation in SMEs: A Synthesis of Extant Research”. Journal of Evolutionary Studies in Business 3 (1):112-36. https://doi.org/10.1344/jesb2018.1.j039.

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