When moving information online diminishes change: advisory services to SMEs

Kevin F. Mole, Mark Hart, Stephen Roper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Improving the performance of private sector small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in a cost effective manner is a major concern for government. Governments have saved costs by moving information online rather than through more expensive face-to-face exchanges between advisers and clients. Building on previous work that distinguished between types of advice, this article evaluates whether these changes to delivery mechanisms affect the type of advice received. Using a multinomial logit model of 1334 cases of business advice to small firms collected in England, the study found that advice to improve capabilities was taken by smaller firms who were less likely to have limited liability or undertake business planning. SMEs sought word-of-mouth referrals before taking internal, capability-enhancing advice. This is also the case when that advice was part of a wider package of assistance involving both internal and external aspects. Only when firms took advice that used extant capabilities did they rely on the Internet. Therefore, when the Internet is privileged over face-to-face advice the changes made by each recipient of advice are likely to diminish causing less impact from advice within the economy. It implies that fewer firms will adopt the sorts of management practices that would improve their productivity.
LanguageEnglish
Pages172-191
Number of pages20
JournalPolicy Studies
Volume35
Issue number2
Early online date22 Jan 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2014

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small and medium-sized enterprise
firm
Internet
costs
liability
private sector
assistance
recipient
productivity
planning
economy
management
performance

Keywords

  • SME policy
  • advisory services
  • advice
  • management practices
  • online
  • Business Link

Cite this

Mole, Kevin F. ; Hart, Mark ; Roper, Stephen. / When moving information online diminishes change : advisory services to SMEs. In: Policy Studies. 2014 ; Vol. 35, No. 2. pp. 172-191.
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When moving information online diminishes change : advisory services to SMEs. / Mole, Kevin F.; Hart, Mark; Roper, Stephen.

In: Policy Studies, Vol. 35, No. 2, 30.03.2014, p. 172-191.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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