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    Gender-based equal opportunities policy and practice in small firms: the impact of HR professionals

    Lupton, Benjamin and Woodhams, Carol A. (2006) Gender-based equal opportunities policy and practice in small firms: the impact of HR professionals. Human resource management journal, 16 (1). pp. 74-97. ISSN 0954-5395

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    Abstract

    This article assesses the impact of HR qualified professionals on the adoption of gender- based equal opportunities policies and practices in small businesses. Earlier research has shown a low level of take-up of equal opportunities initiatives in small firms. This article explores whether the presence of an HR professional in small to medium-sized enterprises is associated with a greater level of take-up of (a) gender-based equality policies and (b) gender-based equality practices than in small to medium-sized enterprises that do not have such expertise. In doing so, the authors draw on empirical data from a recent European Social Fund sponsored study of equal opportunities policy and practice in small to medium-sized enterprises in the UK. The main finding is that the presence of an HR professional is associated with a greater level of take-up of formal equality policies, but not with the implementation of equality practices. The authors explore possible reasons for this and consider the implications for the HR profession and the promotion of equality of opportunity in the small business sector.

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