Study: Employees of small, locally owned businesses show more company loyalty

Employees who work at small, locally owned businesses have the highest level of loyalty to their employers, with rural workers’ commitment based more on size and ownership of the company than job satisfaction, according to researchers at Baylor University.

“While large firms tend to provide higher earnings and more fringe benefits, there are still practical values of small and local businesses, including benefits to the community and to the individual, such as less income inequality, less population turnover, lower crime and more committed workers,” Katie Halbesleben, lead author of the study and doctoral student in Baylor’s department of sociology, stated in a press release. “When it comes to your job, it is usually not just one thing that affects your commitment. You may say ‘I like my boss’ or ‘I am satisfied with what I do.’ Our study re-affirms that working for a small and local company is also an important factor that contributes to a worker’s commitment.”

Research findings are based on analysis of data from the Baylor Religion Survey, a nationally representative sample of 1,714 adults that includes information on workers’ attitudes, beliefs and practices. The survey was conducted by the Gallup Organization in 2010. Researchers analyzed data from 763 participants who had full- or part-time jobs, as well as a subset of 146 workers living in a rural area.
Small companies were defined as those with 1 employee to 49 employees, with all others categorized as large businesses. Among variables relating to work conditions were hours worked the prior week and job satisfaction.

The study showed that 57.2% of workers in a small firm scored in the highest commitment category, compared to 40.5% working for a large firm. Ownership of the company also played a major role, with 56% of workers in locally owned firms having high commitment scores, compared to 38.7% in non-locally owned firms. Commitment was strongest when individuals worked for a company that was both small and locally owned: 61.4% of those employed at such a business scored in the highest commitment category as opposed to 46.7% for large, local businesses.

For more information:

Halbesleben K. Local Economy. 2014;doi:10.1177/0269094214556980.

Disclosure: Funding for the study was provided by USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture and USDA National Research Initiative.

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