Alexandros, Professor of International Human Resource Management at Birmingham City University, feels strongly about supporting small businesses.
“My passion for helping SMEs really drove this project,” he reveals. “Most of them don’t have the means, resources or knowhow to deal with certain situations, particularly when compared to large corporations.”
It’s this passion that has inspired Alexandros, along with his international team of researchers, to begin his latest project.
“We observed SMEs for a period of eight months, observing how they dealt with specific stakeholders.
“Then, we collected information and data from relevant people and worked closely with the businesses,” Alexandros explains.
A framework for SMEs
Alexandros has now developed a framework for SMEs to follow.
“The first, fundamental step is to familiarise yourself with the possible negative impacts the crisis can have on both intra and inter-organisational trust,” Alexandros explains.
“Secondly, you need to accept and understand the damage before you move on to anything else.
“Then, you need to rebuild said trust using a clear strategic target, and openly and transparently communicate it.
“Finally, a rebuilt relationship needs to be maintained in the long term. This can be aided by regular and open communication with your stakeholders.”
The stakeholders SMEs should focus on are “your employees, suppliers and customers.”
Long-term benefits for organisational trust
Alexandros’ work is particularly relevant right now with Covid-19, but he stresses his research will yield benefits when it comes to any future crisis.
“I strongly believe that this framework can help repair trust in any given crisis,” he explains. “Plus, we will continue to study and analyse new information.
“I see it as an ongoing project that will collect data from various industries, sectors and countries.”
Alexandros has produced a paper inspired by the research, which recently picked up the Benedictine University Award for Outstanding Paper on Ethical Issues in Consulting.
The accolade, issued by the Academy of Management, was received after the team’s paper beat hundreds of other competitors.
“It came as a huge surprise, as we beat hundreds of other papers that explore similar issues,” Alexandros explains.
“We feel very proud and motivated to continue what we are investigating.
“The award shows that BCU is able to produce valid and reliable research that can contribute to the wellbeing of business and society.”
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