Small Enterprise Research: Journal of SEAANZ

Founded in 1992 Small Enterprise Research (SER) has positioned itself as a specialist journal focusing on small to medium enterprises (SMEs), entrepreneurship and associated topics within the Asia Pacific region. As the official journal of SEAANZ, SER is dedicated to the advancement of the "four pillars" of academic research, education, policy and practice in relation to small enterprise. 

Until December 2014 Small Enterprise Research was published by e-Content Management. However, commencing from 1 January 2015 the journal is published by Taylor & Francis Group one of the world's largest academic publishers. Founded in 1852 Taylor & Francis publishes over 1,000 journals and around 2,000 books each year.


Editor in Chief

Professor Thomas M. Cooney B.Comm, MBA, PhD.

Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland.




Editorial Board

Professor Mary Barrett, University of Wollongong
Dr Sue Cassells, Massey University
Professor Delwyn Clark, University of Waikato 
Professor Thomas Cooney, Dublin Institute of Technology 
Professor David Crick, University of Ottawa
Professor Evan Douglas, Griffith University 
Professor Dennis Foley, University of Newcastle
Professor Francis Greene, University of Birmingham
Dr Candice Harris, Auckland University of Technology 
Associate Professor Kate Lewis, Massey University
Associate Professor Alex Maritz, Swinburne University of Technology
Professor Colin Mason, University of Glasgow
Professor Claire Massey, Massey University
Professor Tim Mazzarol, University of Western Australia 
Professor Morgan Miles, University of Tasmania 
Associate Professor Rob Powell, Edith Cowan University
Professor Monder Ram, University of Birmingham
Professor Eleanor Shaw, University of Strathclyde
Professor David Storey, University of Sussex
Associate Professor Wee Liang Tan, Singapore Management University
Dr Richard Tunstall, University of Leeds
Associate Professor Martie-Louise Verreynne, University of Queensland
Associate Professor Beverley Webster, RMIT University Vietnam

Information about the journal

Since its foundation in 1992 the journal has published over 400 papers which have received around 1,241 citations or approximately 3 citations per paper. It has an h-index of 15 and a g-index of 23. Small Enterprise Research went online for the first time in 2012 and this is significantly enhancing its visibility. It is abstracted and indexed in:

  • PsycINFO
  • Thomson Cengage
  • EBSCO Publishing
  • ProQuest
  • NetLibrary
  • eBooks Corporation
  • CSAIllustrata
  • APA-FT
  • Atypon
  • Cabell's and Ulrich's Periodicals Directories
  • ARC Register of Refereed Journals

Information about submissions to the journal can be found here: submissions to Small Enterprise Research

Most highly cited papers 

The following is a list of the most highly cited papers in the journal since its foundation. They reflect the focus and unique character of Small Enterprise Research as Australasia's premier small business and entrepreneurship journal:

Stage Models of SME growth reconsidered

Richard G.P. McMahon (1998)  Small Enterprise Research, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 20-35.

This paper reviews the literature, seeking for a theoretically sound and empirically validated explanation of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) growth to serve as a broad framework for research and policy-making regarding the business growth phenomenon. After a critical appraisal of recent research in the field, the paper argues that reconsideration should be given to a conceptual framework that represents SME growth as a series of stages of development through which the business may pass in an enterprise lifecycle. In particular, it is believed that some reliance can be placed on the Hanks et al. (1993) stages-of-growth model. As well as overcoming concerns that such models are frequently not empirically based, it can also be claimed to at least partially answer the most prevalent objections to this type of model that have appeared in the relevant literature. read more...

Pecking Order Theory and the financial structure of manufacturing SMEs from Australia's Business Longitudinal Survey

Adrian Zoppa and Richard G.P. McMahon (2002) , Small Enterprise Research, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 23-42.

The principal objective in this paper is to ascertain the extent to which Myers' (1984) Pecking Order Theory (POT) of business financing appears to explain financial structure amongst a panel of 871 manufacturing SMEs legally organised as proprietary companies, taken from the Australian federal government's Business Longitudinal Survey for three financial years from 1995-96 to 1997-98. The research findings reported in the paper provide further substantial empirical evidence broadly suggesting pecking order financing behaviour amongst SMEs. However, the findings also suggest the need for a modified POT that more fully reflects the special circumstances and nuances of SME financing. A full specification for a modified POT of financing for SMEs is proposed as a basis for further inquiry in the area. read more...

Serendipity, leverage and the process of entrepreneurial internationalization

Bill Merrilees, Dale Miller and James Tiessen (1998)  Small Enterprise Research, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 3-11.

The dominant paradigm for international market entry remains the classic formal planning model with its emphasis on a detailed, quantifiable assessment of the export potential of many countries. For small firms, some of the literature show cases where more informal decision-mg occurs. Small firms are commonly engaged in what Cavusgil (1984) terms 'experimental exporting', which entails much learning by doing. The current study analyses one new possibility - the notion of serendipity - in context of some Australian and Canadian SME export cases. The outcome is the development of a serendipity-based pro model of entrepreneurial international market entry. read more...

Examining the impact on performance of demographic differences between male and female controlled SMEs

John Watson (2001) Small Enterprise Research, Vol. 9, No. 2, pp. 55-70.

Previous research has found that female owned businesses generally under-perform male owned businesses on a variety of measures such as sales and profit. However, many of these studies have used limited data sets and have, therefore, been unable to control adequately for the potential systematic differences between male and female controlled businesses. The main advantage of this study, over previously reported research, is that it uses a database developed from surveys conducted on behalf of the Australian Federal Government and specifically aimed at providing a better understanding of the growth and performance of Australian SMEs. As a result, the sample used was highly representative of Australian SMEs and was based on very good response rates. The study finds that female controlled businesses have significantly lower total income (sales plus other income) and profits, than male controlled businesses. Further, this result persists after controlling for industry; age of business; experience of owner; days per week the business operated; education of owner; and whether the owner had a degree in business. This finding suggests that it might be appropriate to reconsider how SME performance is measured - are sales and profit the most appropriate measures of performance. It could also be argued that non-financial performance indicators (such as owner satisfaction) should be included in any assessment of SME performance. read more...

Do formal business plans really matter? An exploratory study of small business owners in Australia

Tim Mazzarol (2001) Small Enterprise Research, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 32-45.

This exploratory study examines the findings of a survey of small business owners in Australia, their use of formal business planning and its relationship to business performance. While the use of formal business plans is widely considered to be a positive for small business management, previous research has been equivocal on the relationship between use of such plans and profitability. This study used a statistical analysis to examine the relationship between use of formal business plans and business performance and character. The findings suggest that possession of a formal business plan was significantly associated with higher gross revenues and growth in sales. A discriminant analysis found twelve variables that differentiated firms with formal plans from those without. These provide insight into the nature of formal planning within small firms. However, the issue remains as to whether the plan is responsible for the growth or the growth responsible for the plan. read more...

How much does growth determine SMEs' capital structure?

Patrick Hutchinson (2004) Small Enterprise Research, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 81-92.

The purpose of this paper is to examine the extent to which growth determines the capital structure of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This is done by considering some theories of capital structure in relation to SMEs and then testing the resulting ideas empirically. This, in turn involves identifying the likely determinants of SME capital structure, in addition to growth, in order to assess the relative contribution of growth. Also, since it has been argued that the determinants of capital structure vary in certain circumstances, the relative contribution of growth is assessed for SMEs in different industries, for SMEs that have access to the capital market, or not, and for different size classifications namely micro, small and medium-sized SMEs. A key feature of the empirical studies reported in this paper is that they utilize the same database of SMEs. The data were analysed using ordinary least squares regression. The results show that growth is not consistently a major determinant of SMEs' capital structure but is more important in some circumstances than others. read more...

SME innovation within the Australian wine industry: A cluster analysis

David Aylward and John Glynn (2006) Small Enterprise Research, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 42-54.

This paper assesses core innovation activity among SMEs within different levels of cluster development. The aim of the paper, using empirical data from the Australian wine industry, is to demonstrate that innovation levels and activity intensify as an industry cluster develops. By dividing wine clusters into 'innovative' (highly developed) and 'organised' (less developed) models, the paper uses selected core indicators of innovation activity to explore levels of integration within each model. This integration is examined in the context of Porter's theory of 'competitive advantage', with implications for SMEs in particular, and lessons for industry clusters in general. read more...

Strategic planning practices in small enterprises in Queensland

William (Bill) Glen and Jay Weerawardena (1996) Small Enterprise Research, Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 5-16.

Strategic planning in small enterprises differs from strategic planning in larger organizations. Small enterprise research literature in general suggests that the characteristics of the planning environment of a small enterprise differ from those of a large organization and these differences create growth opportunities and threats which are unique to small enterprises. The absence of a theory or a consistent body of knowledge on small enterprise strategic planning is also evident in current literature. The broad objectives of this paper are to examine the characteristics of strategic planning in specified small enterprises in Queensland. Firstly, a working definition of small enterprise strategic planning is submitted. Secondly, a theoretical model representing small enterprise strategic planning characteristics will be proposed. In conjunction with the theoretical model, certain hypotheses will be posited about the model variables. Thirdly, the methods of testing the various hypotheses will be presented, together with findings on the hypotheses gathered from field research. Lastly, conclusions will be presented about small enterprise strategic planning in certain industry sectors in Queensland. Funding for this research paper was kindly made available by a grant from the Queensland Department of Industry and Regional Development (DBIRD). read more...

Home-based businesses: Setting straight the urban myths

Elizabeth A Walker (2003) Small Enterprise Research, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 35-48.

Home-based businesses make up the largest cohort of Australian businesses yet there has been little dedicated empirical research conducted into this group, as they have either been ignored as a discrete group or subsumed into the generic grouping of small business. A major reason for this lack of research is because home-based businesses have often been assumed to be hobby or artisan types of businesses, operated in an ad hoc part-time basis, mainly by women and often out of the metropolitan area, thus not conforming to mainstream business. The inference which can be made from these assumptions is that home-based business are not 'legitimate' or real businesses. The purpose of this paper is to present the results of a recent study into home-based businesses, which refute most of the assumptions and provide evidence that most home-based businesses are legitimate business operations. In addition home-based businesses are shown to be generators of real employment and that they also make a significant economic and social contribution to their local community. read more...

Performance measurement practices in small and medium sized manufacturing enterprises in Australia

Sujatha Perera and Pamela Baker (2007) Small Enterprise Reseach, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 10-13.

This study examines the use of financial and non-financial performance measures in small and medium size manufacturing enterprises (SMEs) in Australia. The paper argues that SMEs in general make greater use of financial than non-financial measures of performance, and also non-owner managed firms make greater use of formal measurement systems than owner-managed firms. This study is based on data collected in 2004 from a survey of 86 manufacturing SMEs and semi-structured interviews conducted with managers in eight SMEs in Western Sydney metropolitan area in Australia. The data were analysed using two sample t-tests, regression analysis and chi-square test. The study found that SMEs place a greater reliance on financial measures of performance, although with increase in size there is a tendency to make more use of non-financial measures. Also, SMEs with non-owner managers make greater use of multiple performance measures than those with owner managers. It also reveals that for planning, control, and decision making purposes, SMEs use information generated from performance measurement systems (PMSs) to varying degrees. Time and resource constraints were noted by the respondents as the main factors that inhibit effective use of PMSs. read more...

New Zealand IPO underpricing: The reputation factor

Ed Vos and Joe Cheung (1992) Small Enterprise Research, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 13-22.

This paper reviews the major work conducted to explain the underpricing of initial public offerings (IPOs) of common stocks. Difficulties with the existing theories are also reviewed. The work of Tinic (1988), which suggests that IPO underpricing results from the need for 'legal insurance', is tested and no such effect can be found. A simple framework is then developed which points to the reputation capital of investment bankers as the major cause of IPO underpricing. Empirical findings from the sample of IPOs in New Zealand are consistent with the implications of the model. read more...

The role of social networks at different stages of business formation

Kim Klyver and Kevin Hindle (2007) Small Enterprise Research, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 22-38.

This study empirically tests the fundamental assumption that social networks are important to entrepreneurs. This assumption underpins most social network research conducted in the field of entrepreneurship and is seldom questioned. Empirical data were drawn from Australia's participation in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor project (GEM) from 2000-2005 - an aggregate sample of 14,205 randomly selected Australians. The study demonstrated: (1) statistically significant differences in social networks when entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs are compared and (2) that the structural diversity of social networks changes during the entrepreneurial process. It was found that structural diversity was most important to entrepreneurs in the discovery stage, least important to entrepreneurs in the start-up stage and of medium importance to entrepreneurs in the young business stage. read more...

The role of the external accountant in small firms

John Breen, Nick Sciulli and Cheryl Calvert (2004) Small Enterprise Research, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 5-14.

This paper details a second stage of a study into the use of small business computerised accounting systems (CAS), together with the role and impact of the accountant across businesses that use and do not use computerised systems. The most popular accounting software product is MYOB and the CAS was predominantly used for operational activities rather than for strategic purposes. Despite many owner-managers implementing a CAS, there was still a heavy reliance on accountants to review financial statements and to perform bookkeeping services. In fact, non-CAS-users tended to utilise accountants' services less than computerised accounting businesses. The findings of this study would be useful for accountants in determining marketing strategies for their small business clients, and for small business owners in general in encouraging them to utilise a CAS to provide more cost effective accounting information. read more...

Informal venture captial and the financing of small and medium sized enterprises

Colin Mason and Richard T. Harrison (1994) Small Enterprise Research, Vol. 3, No. 1-2, pp. 33-56.

There are two principal sources of venture capital for entrepreneurial companies. The institutional venture capital market, comprising professional venture capital firms, if the more familiar. However, despite its high profile it actually finances only a small number of businesses. Moreover, its investment focus favours larger, established businesses, including management buyouts, rather than new and recent start-ups. Much less visible - but considerably more significant as a source of finance for entrepreneurial companies - is the informal venture capital market comprising private investors (or 'business angels') who provide risk capital directly to new and growing companies. Drawing upon research undertaken in North America and Western Europe, this paper addresses three questions: (i) Who are business angels and how does the informal venture capital market function? (ii) Why is the informal venture capital market important to the development of an entrepreneurial economy? (iii) How can governments stimulate informal venture capital activity? read more...

Indigeneous economic development: A tale of two wineries

Robert B. Anderson, Dianne W. Wingham, Robert J. Giberson and Brian Gibson (2003) Small Enterprise Research, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 49-62.

In this paper, we explore the economic development activities of Indigenous people in the 'new global economy'. This exploration is conducted in four parts. The first provides an overview of Indigenous economic development-the objectives and the process. The second part is a theoretical exploration of the Indigenous approach to development described in the first section in an attempt to assess its feasibility. The third section consists of two case studies of Indigenous development, one about a group of Maori in New Zealand and the other about a group of Aboriginal people in Canada. In each case, the people of the communities involved developed wine-related businesses as a key aspect of their economic development strategy. Indeed, they created the world's first and second Indigenous-owned wineries, the Tohu Winery in New Zealand and Nk'Mip Cellars in Canada. The cases studies briefly document the creation of these wineries and then describe contribution that these businesses have made to the economic development of the communities involved. In the fourth section, we offer concluding comments about Indigenous economic development activities as brought to life by the case studies. read more...

Indigenous Australians and self-employment

Don Fuller, Peter Dansie, Merrick Jones and Scott Holmes (1999) Small Enterprise Research, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 5-28.

Indigenous Australians have long been regarded as a disadvantaged group in Australian society, and have found it difficult to compete with other Australians for employment opportunities. As pointed out by the Miller Report (1985) Aboriginal society has been through the stages associated with expropriation involving dispossession, dispersal and destruction of their traditional economic base. In many areas this destruction has been characterised by a dependence on government services and programs as a replacement for the previously productive economic system of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander society. As productive employment opportunities disappeared for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, there has been a natural and increasing dependence on social welfare, in order to survive. The movement to larger population centres, assisted a small number of Indigenous Australians to re-establish some form of economic security by providing access to increased labour market opportunities. However, even in such situations, often because of relatively low levels of educational attainment, the employment outcomes for most Indigenous Australians remain well below those enjoyed by the rest of the Australian population. read more...