Investigating Cultural Influences on HR Practices of Pakistani-Owned SMEs in the UK.


Dr. Iftikhar A Butt , 2Dr. Alastair Evans , Dr. Stephen Roberts ,

Download Full PDF Pages: 15-34 | Views: 368 | Downloads: 118 | DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3462887

Volume 4 - October 2015 (10)


This article is based on an explorative study of cultural factors and their impact on people management strategies of Pakistani-owned SMEs in the UK. The topic of the research was investigated through in-depth literature review, case studies and questionnaire-based field survey. The literature review provided theoretical insights to the study and empirical investigation generated a wide range of information about practical scenario of these companies. The triangulation approach of the study helped in offsetting weaknesses of a specific method by strengths of other methods. The empirical investigation discovered a range of cultural factors such as religion, values, beliefs, traditions, ethnicity, languages and communication patterns playing a pivotal role in evolving and shaping HR strategies and practices of Pakistani-owned SMEs in the UK. The study contributed to the existing body of knowledge by furthering our substantive understanding about cultural influences on human resource management of SMEs. It provided some practical lessons to SMEs in the UK in general and ethnic minority SMEs in particular. Also the study paved the way for students and researchers to conduct further research in the area to overcome any limitations found in the findings


Culture, HRM, SMEs, UK, Triangulation, Religion, Values, Ethnicity, Diversity, recruitment, training, rewards, performance, employment relations, motivation 


  1. Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Services (2009) Religion or Belief and the Workplace: A guide for employers and employees [online]. London. Available from: [Accessed 17 September 12]
  2. Bacon, N., Ackers, P. and Storey D. (1996) it’s a small world: Managing human resource management in small businesses. International Journal of Human Resource Management 1(1): 82–101.
  3. Brand, M. J. and Bax, E. H. (2002) Strategic HRM for SMEs: Implication for Firms and Policies. Education and Training Journal, 44 (8), 451-463.
  4. Bryman, A. and Bell, E. (2007) Business Research Methods 2. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  5. Carlson, D. S., Upton, N. and Seaman, S. (2006) The impact of human resource practices and compensation design on performance: An analysis of family-owned SMEs. Journal of Small Business Management, Vol. 44 No. 4, pp. 531-43.
  6. Chandler, G. N. and McEvoy, G. M. (2000) Human Resource Management, TQM and firm performance in small and medium sized enterprises. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, pp. 43-57.
  7. Creswell, J. W. (2003) Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches, eds. 2, SAGE publication: USA.
  8. Daily Telegraph, (9 January 2008) BA woman loses crucifix battle [online]. Available from: [Accessed 14 December 10]
  9. Davidson, J. (2011) Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) report number 754 [online]. Available from: [Accessed 17 October 13]
  10. Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) (2007) The United Kingdom, Wikipedia the free encyclopaedia.
  11. Duberley, J. and Whalley, P. (1995) Assessing the adoption of HRM by small and medium sized manufacturing organizations. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 6: 4, 891-909.
  12. Easterby-Smith, M., Thorpe, R. and Jackson, P. R. (2009) Management Research. London: Sage Publications.
  13. Edwards, P. and Ram, M. (2009) HRM in small firms: Respecting and regulating informality. Sage hand book of human resource management. London: Sage. Hwang, X. and Brown, A. (1999) An analysis and classification of problems in small business. International Small Business Journal, 18(1), 73-85.
  14. Hendry, C., Arthur, M. B. and Jones A. M. (1995) Strategy through people: Adaptation and learning in Small and Medium sized enterprises. Routledge, London.
  15. Home Office Research Study 289 (2004) Home Office Citizenship Survey: People, Families and Communities [online]. Available from: [Accessed 10 July 2010]
  16. Hoque, K. and Noon, M, (2004) Racial discrimination in speculative applications: New optimism six years on? Human Resource Management, Vol. 9, No. 3, pp 71-82.
  17. Kersley, B., Alpin, C., Forth, J., Bryson, A., Bewley, H., Dix, G. and Oxenbridge, S. (2006) Inside the workplace: Findings from the 2004 Workplace Employment Relations Survey (WERS) London: Routledge.
  18. Kirton, G. and Greene, A. (2005) True dynamics of managing diversity: A critical approach. 2nd eds. Elsevier Butterworth Heinemann, London.
  19. Saunders, M., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (2007) Research Methods for Business Students. Harlow, UK: Prentice Hall Financial Times.
  20. Storey, J. (1995) Human Resource Management: A critical text. Thompson International London.
  21. Marlow, S. (2005) Introduction. In: S. Marlow, D. Patton and M. Ram (eds.) Managing Labour in Small Firms, pp. 1–17. Abingdon: Routledge.
  22. Marlow, S., Taylor, S. and Thompson, A. (2010) Informality and formality in medium-sized companies: Contestation and synchronisation. British Journal of Management, 21, pp. 954-966.
  23. McElwee, G. and Warren, L. (2000) The relationship between total quality management and HRM in small and medium-sized enterprises. Strategic Change, Vol. 9, pp. 427-35.
  24. Miller, D. (2006) The Conference Board Workforce Diversity Council. In: C. Mitchell, (2006) Faith at Work: What does it mean to be a faith-friendly company? The Conference Board Executive Action Series.
  25. Miller, D. (2007) Faith at Work. Oxford University Press.
  26. Mitchell, C. (2006) Faith at Work: What does it mean to be a faith-friendly Company? The Conference Board Executive Action Series p2.
  27. Newman, W.L. (2002) Social Research Methods (2nd eds.) London: Allyn and Bacon.
  28. Roomi, M. A. and Harrison, P. (2008) Impact of women-only entrepreneurship training in Islamic society. Denmark: Copenhagen Business School Press.
  29. Research Institute of Business Management (RIBM, 2007) Manchester Metropolitan University.
  30. Society for Human Resource Management (2008) Religion and corporate culture: accommodating religious diversity in the workplace [online]. Available from: [Accessed 15 January 2012].
  31. Stevens, J. (1996) Applied Multivariate Statistics for the Social Sciences. 3rd Edition, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  32. Storey, D. G., Saridakis, S. and Sen-Gupta, P. (2010) Management formality and employee evaluations of work. Human Resource Management, 49, pp 305-329.
  33. Welsh, J. A. and White, J. F (1991) A small business not a little big business. Harvard Business Review, JulyAugust, pp, 18-32.
  34. White, A. (2008) Business for social responsibility and culture matters: The Soul of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in emerging economics [n.p.]
  35. Wilkinson, A. (1999) Employment Relations in SMEs. Employee Relations, 21: 3, 206–217.

Cite this Article: