Regional patterns of small firm development in the business services: evidence from the United Kingdom
The growth of business services in the United Kingdom during the 1980s is reviewed, and especially the role of small firms. Reports the results of an intensive questionnaire survey, undertaken in 1991, of a sample of small management consultancy and market research companies in three areas; inner London, the outer south east, and north west England. In interpreting the demand and supply characteristics of these firms, emphasis is placed on their interactions with the internal labour market strategies of predominantly large client organisations. Generally, the sample firms offer consultancy and marketing expertise which such clients do not provide from their own skill resources. Their founders were also often originally employees of such organisations, especially outside London. Regional economic and social characteristics mould the activities of these firms, even though many engage in a significant degree of interregional trade. The markets served, types of specialisation, the originating process, and the ages of founders show marked differences between the two sectors and the three areas.