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Appears in Collections:Management, Work and Organisation Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: 'You try to be a fair employer': Regulation and employment relationships in medium-sized firms
Author(s): Atkinson, Carol
Mallett, Oliver
Wapshott, Robert
Keywords: employment relationships
medium-sized enterprises
psychological contract
Issue Date: 1-Feb-2016
Citation: Atkinson C, Mallett O & Wapshott R (2016) 'You try to be a fair employer': Regulation and employment relationships in medium-sized firms. International Small Business Journal, 34 (1), pp. 16-33.
Abstract: In this article, we explore the dynamic, indirect effects of employment regulation through a qualitative study of three medium-sized enterprises and their ongoing, everyday employment relationships. Whereas owner–manager prerogative is generally associated with informality in small and medium-sized enterprises, we identify instances of formal policies and procedures implemented in response to regulation being instrumental in exerting this prerogative. Furthermore, employees reinforced this process by making judgements regarding the employment relationship in terms of their perceived informal psychological contract rather than external regulatory obligations. This article extends understanding of dynamic, indirect regulatory effects in relation to the interplay of informality and formality within psychological contracts in medium-sized enterprises.
DOI Link: 10.1177/0266242614541992
Rights: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
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