Researchers at Newcastle University Business School are investigating how small businesses have understood and complied with government regulations during pandemic.
Working with partners at Birmingham Business School and Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the SECT:OR (Small Enterprises in COVID Times: On Regulation) project will identify how small firms have received and acted on information about laws and guidance during the pandemic. The project – which is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), as part of UK Research and Innovation’s rapid response to COVID-19 – will involve a large-scale online survey of companies who have fewer than 49 employees, as well as a number of in-depth interviews. Dr Paul Richter, Lecturer in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Newcastle University, and who is leading the project, said: “In the face of constantly changing guidance and regulations during the pandemic, the business community has had to make extremely difficult decisions with far-reaching consequences for employees’ livelihoods, public and employee health, and the viability and survival of their businesses. We are keen to learn from some of those leading the UK’s nearly 6 million small businesses about how they have managed that task.” The research will give policymakers and those representing/advising small businesses greater clarity about how these companies receive and interpret information and the financial, emotional, and time costs of complying.