Cultures of fair and decent work: lessons from SME business champions

Stephen Gibb*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Working paper


This study identifies seven aspects of fair and decent work cultures identified in Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) organizations who are fair and decent work employers, business champions of this. These relate to the culture and behaviour themes of;

• One Team
• Responsible Leads
• Resourceful
• Clan culture
• Kindness
• Values
• Quick Learning

These cultures emerge from studying fair and decent work explicitly and directly in the SME sector. The sample includes SME organizations in both manufacturing and service sectors.

Seven SME organizations who were perceived to fulfil the characteristics of a fair and decent work. There were interviews with directors or senior managers. A survey was distributed to employees, with 78 respondents from these 7 organizations. An overview of the benchmark data from the study and in each is given in the report by;

• Core score perceptions of fair and decent work
• Benchmark data on 6 factors
• Organization Profiles

Employee Survey respondents in these cases were asked if their current employer was the best they had worked for; 55% said yes, they were. Another 26% rated them as similar to other employers experienced. Only 14% said they were not the best, and 5% could not compare. We believe this validates the sample of cases here a being a sample of fair and decent work employer.

Our main recommendations are;

1. Advocates of fair and decent work understand the lessons and promote awareness of these as OD pathways to progress with SME employers who are more ambivalent or need to be persuaded about the advantages of being FDW employers.
2. Organizations can self-assess specifically around the themes here, and with dialogue and stakeholder engagement develop their organizations.
3. To facilitate a community of learning about the these lessons training and workshops targeted at SMEs should be provided.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of the West of Scotland
Number of pages46
Publication statusPublished - 29 Feb 2020

Publication series

NamePeople, HR and OD Research and Resources
PublisherUniversity of the West of Scotland


Dive into the research topics of 'Cultures of fair and decent work: lessons from SME business champions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this