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Maternity Management in SMEs: A Transdisciplinary Review and Research Agenda

Rouse, Julia and Lewis, S (2017) Maternity Management in SMEs: A Transdisciplinary Review and Research Agenda. International Journal of Management Reviews, 20 (2). pp. 500-522. ISSN 1460-8545

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Abstract

This paper provides a transdisciplinary critical review of the literature on maternity management in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), embedded within the wider literatures on maternity in the workplace. The key objectives are to describe what is known about the relations that shape maternity management in smaller workplaces and to identify research directions to enhance this knowledge. The review is guided by theory of organizational gendering and small business management, conceptualizing adaptions to maternity as a process of mutual adjustment and dynamic capability within smaller firms’ informally negotiated order, resource endowments and wider labour and product/service markets. A context-sensitive lens is also applied. The review highlights the complex range of processes involved in SME maternity management and identifies major research gaps in relation to pregnancy, maternity leave and the return to work (family-friendly working and breastfeeding) in these contexts. This blind spot is surprising, as SMEs employ the majority of women worldwide. A detailed agenda for future research is outlined, building on the gaps identified by the review and founded on renewed theoretical direction.

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