Small firms and health and safety harmonisation : potential regulatory effects of a dominant narrative

Barrett, Rowena, Mayson, Susan, & Bahn, Susanne (2014) Small firms and health and safety harmonisation : potential regulatory effects of a dominant narrative. Journal of Industrial Relations, 56(1), pp. 62-80.

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Small firms are popularly viewed as resistant to complying with regulation. Harmonisation of Australia’s state-based work health and safety regimes is a significant regulatory change. In this article, we consider the likely responses of small firms to work health and safety harmonisation and argue that a range of choices are open to small firm owner-managers. These choices are shaped by individuals’ world views and are influenced by elements in the firms’ context. A significant element is the public narrative of work health and safety harmonisation, which can be understood by using discourse and sense-making concepts. Our analysis of small firm owner-manager choices takes into account small firms’ embeddedness in their regulatory context and the influence on organisational decision-making of the narrative of work health and safety harmonisation. The dominant narrative is arguably silent on the benefits of the work health and safety regulatory change and therefore the response of small firms is likely to be avoidance or minimalism. Non-compliance could be the result due to poor awareness of opportunities arising from this regulatory change.

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3 citations in Scopus
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2 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 75417
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Occupational Health and Safety, Regulation, Regulatory Effects, Sense-making, Small Firms
DOI: 10.1177/0022185613498629
ISSN: 1472-9296
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Small Business Management (150314)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Deposited On: 24 Aug 2014 23:14
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2014 21:15

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