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'You try to be a fair employer': Regulation and employment relationships in medium-sized firms

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Oliver Mallett



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


In this article, we explore the dynamic, indirect effects of employment regulation through a qualitative study of three medium-sized enterprises and their ongoing, everyday employment relationships. We analyse how employment regulation is enacted through employment relationships and how its effects are negotiated by owner-managers and employees. Whereas owner-manager prerogative is generally associated with informality in small and medium-sized enterprises, we identify instances of formal policies and procedures implemented in response to regulation being instrumental in exerting this prerogative. Further, employees reinforced this process by making judgements regarding the employment relationship in terms of their perceived, informal psychological contract rather than external regulatory obligations. This article extends understanding of dynamic, indirect regulatory effects in relation to the interplay of informality and formality within psychological contracts in medium-sized enterprises.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Atkinson C, Mallett O, Wapshott R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Small Business Journal

Year: 2016

Volume: 34

Issue: 1

Pages: 16-33

Print publication date: 01/02/2016

Online publication date: 17/07/2014

Acceptance date: 10/06/2014

Date deposited: 21/03/2016

ISSN (print): 0266-2426

ISSN (electronic): 1741-2870

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1177/0266242614541992


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