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International Small Business Journal

International Small Business Journal

Researching Entrepreneurship

eISSN: 17412870 | ISSN: 02662426 | Current volume: 42 | Current issue: 3 Frequency: 9 Times/Year

The International Small Business Journal (ISBJ) is a leading peer reviewed journal that publishes the highest quality original research papers on small business and entrepreneurship. The emphasis of the journal is on high quality, research based studies which contribute to theory, critical understanding and policy formulation on small firms.

Papers published in the ISBJ cover theoretical, methodological and empirical studies of small firms from a broad range of disciplines and perspectives. The emphasis is on research excellence in the field of enquiry, as the journal endeavours to provide a critical forum for world class contributions on the analysis of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial behaviour

This refereed journal is of relevance to academics, policy makers and analysts, in government and business, seeking to understand the sector, trade and business institutions, small business representative bodies and those in support agencies.

This journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

The International Small Business Journal (ISBJ) is a leading peer reviewed journal that publishes the highest quality original research papers on small business and entrepreneurship.

The ISBJ attracts submissions from researchers focusing upon theoretical, empirical, policy and practitioner issues within the fields of small business and entrepreneurship. Articles published in the ISBJ are of importance to academics, policy makers, practitioners and analysts in government and organisations, seeking to understand small businesses, entrepreneurial processes and outcomes.

The geographical scope of the Journal is worldwide. This is reflected in the membership of the Editorial Board, its readership, contributors, and subscribers. Given the dynamic and broad nature of the field of small business and entrepreneurship, the Journal is multi-disciplinary and multi-paradigmatic. Hence, papers draw upon a wide range of academic disciplines and contribute to a myriad of contemporary disciplinary debates whilst supporting theory development within the domains of small firm and entrepreneurship.

The ISBJ publishes high quality articles that employ qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method studies that provide fresh insights into new and established research questions. These may be positivist, qualitative studies or interpretivist approaches. Studies need to clearly illustrate that appropriate methods have been used to explore research question(s).

Given the broad scope of the small business and entrepreneurship fields, topics for submission are not prescribed. It is the Editorial policy to publish papers that cover both innovative and established fields of intellectual endeavour. Examples of areas of interest to ISBJ readers include: owner-managers and entrepreneurs; different 'types' of entrepreneurs and the milieu in which they operate (eg. self-employed; family firms; home-based firms; regional studies; SMEs); the entrepreneurial process, including new venture creation through to business exit; and the contributions to economy and society. Authors are encouraged to engage with the relevant contemporary literature in the field, such as psychological, sociological and economic approaches, both within and outside the entrepreneurship discipline.

Robert Blackburn University of Liverpool, UK
Patricia Lewis University of Kent, UK
Consulting Editors
Endrit Kromidha University of Birmingham, UK
Dominic Buccieri Missouri Southern State University, USA
Martina Battisti Grenoble Ecole de Management, France
Francis Greene University of Edinburgh, UK
Robert T Hamilton University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Dilani Jayawarna University of Liverpool, UK
Peter Jennings  
Frank Lasch Montpellier Business School, France
Christian Lechner LUISS Business School, Italy
Tatiana Manolova Bentley University, USA
Kevin Mole University of Warwick, UK
Niina Nummela University of Turku, Finland
Maija Renko DePaul University, USA
Mark W J L Sanders Maastricht University School of Business and Economics, Netherlands
Lorna Treanor University of Nottingham, UK
David Urbano Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
Senior Consulting Editor
Susan Marlow University of Nottingham, UK
Alexander Newman Melbourne Business School, Melbourne University, Australia
Special Issue Editor
Simon Raby Mount Royal University, Canada
Social Media Editor
Benjamin Fath University of Auckland, New Zealand
Books Reviews Editor
Rachel Doern Goldsmiths University of London, UK
Editorial Advisory Board
Nkechi Adeeko University of Bristol, UK
Haya Al-Dajani Prince Mohammad Bin Salman College (MBSC), Saudi Arabia
Robert J. Bennett University of Cambridge, UK
Joern Block Universität Trier, Germany
Dermot Breslin Rennes School of Business, France
Ross Brown University of St Andrews, UK
Orla Byrne University College Dublin, Ireland
Jose Casillas University of Seville, Spain
Tommy Clausen Nord University, Norway
Eric Clinton Dublin City University, Ireland
Thomas M. Cooney Technological University Dublin, Ireland
Marc Cowling University of Derby, UK
Dimo Dimov University of Bath, UK
Allan Discua Cruz Lancaster University, UK
Carol Ekinsmyth University of Portsmouth, UK
Riccardo Fini University of Bologna, Italy
Wesley Friske Missouri State University, USA
Johanna Gast Montpellier University, France
Andrew Greenman University of East Anglia, UK
Sheree Gregory Western Sydney University, Australia
Vishal Gupta University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Liang Han Henley Business School, UK
Jarna Heinonen University of Turku, Finland
Brahim Herbane De Montfort University, UK
Mikael Hilmersson University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Luca Iandoli St John's University, USA
Robin Jarvis Brunel University, UK
Wei Jiang Xiamen University, China
Rosalind Jones University of Bangor, UK
Teemu Kautonen United Arab Emirates University, UAE
Alex Kevill University of Leeds, UK
Kim Klyver University of Southern Denmark, Denmark
Steffen Korsgaard University of Southern Denmark, Denmark
Anne Kovalainen Turku School of Economics, Finland
Caleb Kwong University of Essex, UK
Helena Lenihan University of Limerick, Ireland
Dominic S. K. Lim Western University, Canada
Oliver Mallett University of Stirling, School of Management, UK
Angela Martinez Dy Loughborough University, UK
Colin M Mason Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow
Kristel Miller Ulster University, UK
Michael H Morris University of Notre Dame, USA
Fernando Munoz-Bullon Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain
Robert Newbury Northumbria University , UK
Jay O'Toole Strome College of Business, Old Dominion University, USA
Luke Pittaway Ohio University College of Business, USA
Monder Ram Aston University, UK
Elaine Ramsey University of Ulster, UK
Einar Rasmussen Nord University, Norway
Richard Roberts Aston University, UK
Nick Rumens Oxford Brookes University UK
Louise Scholes University of Loughborough London, UK
Eleanor Shaw Strathclyde University, Scotland, UK
Maura Sheehan Napier University, UK
Josh Siepel University of Sussex, UK
Claudia Smith Duke University
Paul Steffens The University of Adelaide, Australia
Pekka Stenholm Turku University, Finland
Janine Swail Auckland University Business School, New Zealand
Sara Thorgren Luleå University of Technology, Sweden
Vartuhi Tonoyan California State University, Fresno, USA
Peter van der Zwan Leiden University, Netherlands
Thierry Volery Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland
Robert Wapshott University of Nottingham, UK
Anna Watson University of Hertfordshire. UK
Anna Watson Napier University, UK
Nick Williams Leeds University, UK
Huan Zou School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK
Founding Editor
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  • Manuscript Submission Guidelines: International Small Business Journal

    This Journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics

    Please read the guidelines below then visit the Journal’s submission site to upload your manuscript. Please note that manuscripts not conforming to these guidelines may be returned.

    Only manuscripts of sufficient quality that meet the aims and scope of International Small Business Journal will be reviewed.

    There are no fees payable to submit or publish in this Journal. Open Access options are available - see section 3.3 below.

    As part of the submission process you will be required to warrant that you are submitting your original work, that you have the rights in the work, and that you have obtained and can supply all necessary permissions for the reproduction of any copyright works not owned by you, that you are submitting the work for first publication in the Journal and that it is not being considered for publication elsewhere and has not already been published elsewhere. Please see our guidelines on prior publication and note that the journal may accept submissions of papers that have been posted on pre-print servers; please alert the Editorial Office when submitting (contact details are at the end of these guidelines) and include the DOI for the preprint in the designated field in the manuscript submission system. Authors should not post an updated version of their paper on the preprint server while it is being peer reviewed for possible publication in the journal. If the article is accepted for publication, the author may re-use their work according to the journal's author archiving policy.
    If your paper is accepted, you must include a link on your preprint to the final version of your paper.

    1. What do we publish?
      1.1 Aims & Scope
      1.2 Article types
      1.3 Writing your paper
    2. Editorial policies
      2.1 Peer review policy
      2.2 Authorship
      2.3 Acknowledgements
      2.4 Funding
      2.5 Declaration of conflicting interests
      2.6 Research Data
    3. Publishing policies
      3.1 Publication ethics
      3.2 Contributor's publishing agreement
      3.3 Open access and author archiving
    4. Preparing your manuscript
      4.1 Formatting
      4.2 Artwork, figures and other graphics
      4.3 Supplemental material
      4.4 Reference style
      4.5 English language editing services
    5. Submitting your manuscript
      5.1 ORCID
      5.2 Information required for completing your submission
      5.3 Permissions
    6. On acceptance and publication
      6.1 Sage Production
      6.2 Online First publication
      6.3 Access to your published article
      6.4 Promoting your article
    7. Further information


    1. What do we publish?

    1.1 Aims & Scope

    Before submitting your manuscript to International Small Business Journal, please ensure you have read the Aims & Scope.

    1.2 Article Types

    The ISBJ publishes original papers that raise our knowledge base and levels of theorising on small business, SMEs and entrepreneurship. The journal considers the following sort of submissions:

    • Full Research Articles:  A maximum of 40 pages including references, tables and figures
    • Research Notes: these are shorter and less common submissions. They may, for example, identify emerging themes within research debate, offer short overviews of issues of contemporary interest or articulate critical appraisals of accepted theories and arguments.
    • Book reviews: these are commissioned by the book reviews editor but suggestions are welcome

    The ISBJ welcomes papers that are multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary, as well as those from traditional disciplines, such as economics, psychology and sociology, that relate to rigorous studies of entrepreneurship in all its forms. Papers published in the journal tend to cover the following areas, although these are not meant to be comprehensive and other novel or related themes are welcome:

    • Small business and entrepreneurship theory and theory development
    • Methodological issues and contributions to critical debates
    • The entrepreneurial process, opportunity recognition through to business transfer/ closure
    • The motivations and characteristics of business owners, socio-economic class, gender and ethnicity etc which influence entrepreneurial processes and outcomes
    • Analyses of different forms of small firms and SMEs, family firms, franchises, management buy-outs and self-employment, social enterprises etc.
    • Strategic issues in entrepreneurship and small business, analyses of marketing, finance, human resources and technology management
    • Entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial learning
    • Labour market, employment, job satisfaction and employment relations in small firms
    • The impact of entrepreneurship and small business activity on human beings, the economy and society, job-generation and types, culture and social class etc.
    • Entrepreneurship and small business in different geographical environments, national and regional analyses, transition and mature economies
    • Internationalisation processes, challenges and effects
    • E-commerce, E-entrepreneurship and other technological influences upon entrepreneurial activity and business configuration
    • Institutional influences upon entrepreneurship and small business activity, analyses of public policy and interventions connected with small business and entrepreneurship

    Special Issues.   The invitation to submit special issue proposals are issued annually; the call for proposals will be on the website and advertised through our social media outlets.  Details upon how to structure the proposal, how it will be evaluated  and how to submit it will be included in the call for proposals.

    1.3 Writing your paper

    The Sage Author Gateway has some general advice and on how to get published, plus links to further resources.

    1.3.1 Make your article discoverable

    For information and guidance on how to make your article more discoverable, visit our Gateway page on How to Help Readers Find Your Article Online

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    2. Editorial policies

    2.1 Peer review policy

    All ISBJ manuscripts are screened initially by a Consulting Editor. Only those papers that meet the scientific and editorial standards, and fit within the aims and scope of the ISBJ, will be sent for full anonymize peer review. Papers for full review will be sent to at least two expert referees. The ISBJ adheres to a rigorous double-anonymize reviewing policy, in which the identity of both the reviewers and author(s) are always concealed from both parties.

    2.2 Authorship

    All parties who have made a substantive contribution to the article should be listed as authors. Principal authorship, authorship order, and other publication credits should be based on the relative scientific or professional contributions of the individuals involved, regardless of their status. A student is usually listed as principal author on any multiple-authored publication that substantially derives from the student’s dissertation or thesis.

    Please note that AI chatbots, for example ChatGPT, should not be listed as authors. For more information see the policy on Use of ChatGPT and generative AI tools.

    2.3 Acknowledgements

    All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in an Acknowledgements section. Examples of those who might be acknowledged include a person who provided purely technical help, or a department chair who provided only general support.

    Any acknowledgements should appear first at the end of your article prior to your Declaration of Conflicting Interests (if applicable), any notes and your References.

    2.3.1 Third party submissions
    Where an individual who is not listed as an author submits a manuscript on behalf of the author(s), a statement must be included in the Acknowledgements section of the manuscript and in the accompanying cover letter. The statements must:

    • Disclose this type of editorial assistance – including the individual’s name, company and level of input
    • Identify any entities that paid for this assistance
    • Confirm that the listed authors have authorized the submission of their manuscript via third party and approved any statements or declarations, e.g. conflicting interests, funding, etc.

    Where appropriate, Sage reserves the right to deny consideration to manuscripts submitted by a third party rather than by the authors themselves.

    2.4 Funding

    International Small Business Journal requires all authors to acknowledge their funding in a consistent fashion under a separate heading.  Please visit the Funding Acknowledgements page on the Sage Journal Author Gateway to confirm the format of the acknowledgment text in the event of funding, or state that: This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

    2.5 Declaration of conflicting interests

    International Small Business Journal encourages authors to include a declaration of any conflicting interests and recommends you review the good practice guidelines on the Sage Journal Author Gateway.

    2.6 Research Data

    The journal is committed to facilitating openness, transparency and reproducibility of research, and has the following research data sharing policy. For more information, including FAQs please visit the Sage Research Data policy pages.

    Subject to appropriate ethical and legal considerations, authors are encouraged to:

    • share your research data in a relevant public data repository
    • include a data availability statement linking to your data. If it is not possible to share your data, we encourage you to consider using the statement to explain why it cannot be shared.
    • cite this data in your research

    3. Publishing Policies

    3.1 Publication ethics

    Sage is committed to upholding the integrity of the academic record. We encourage authors to refer to the Committee on Publication Ethics’ International Standards for Authors and view the Publication Ethics page on the Sage Author Gateway

    3.1.1 Plagiarism

    International Small Business Journal and Sage take issues of copyright infringement, plagiarism or other breaches of best practice in publication very seriously. We seek to protect the rights of our authors and we always investigate claims of plagiarism or misuse of published articles. Equally, we seek to protect the reputation of the journal against malpractice. Submitted articles may be checked with duplication-checking software. Where an article, for example, is found to have plagiarised other work or included third-party copyright material without permission or with insufficient acknowledgement, or where the authorship of the article is contested, we reserve the right to take action including, but not limited to: publishing an erratum or corrigendum (correction); retracting the article; taking up the matter with the head of department or dean of the author's institution and/or relevant academic bodies or societies; or taking appropriate legal action.

    3.1.2 Prior publication

    If material has been previously published it is not generally acceptable for publication in a Sage journal. However, there are certain circumstances where previously published material can be considered for publication. Please refer to the guidance on the Sage Author Gateway or if in doubt, contact the Editor at the address given below.

    3.2 Contributor's publishing agreement

    Before publication, Sage requires the author as the rights holder to sign a Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement. Sage’s Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement is an exclusive licence agreement which means that the author retains copyright in the work but grants Sage the sole and exclusive right and licence to publish for the full legal term of copyright. Exceptions may exist where an assignment of copyright is required or preferred by a proprietor other than Sage. In this case copyright in the work will be assigned from the author to the society. For more information please visit the Sage Author Gateway

    3.3 Open access and author archiving

    International Small Business Journal offers optional open access publishing via the Sage Choice programme and Open Access agreements, where authors can publish open access either discounted or free of charge depending on the agreement with Sage. Find out if your institution is participating by visiting Open Access Agreements at Sage. For more information on Open Access publishing options at Sage please visit Sage Open Access. For information on funding body compliance, and depositing your article in repositories, please visit Sage’s Author Archiving and Re-Use Guidelines and Publishing Policies

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    4. Preparing your manuscript for submission

    4.1 Formatting

    The preferred format for your manuscript is Word. LaTeX files are also accepted. Word and (La)Tex templates are available on the Manuscript Submission Guidelines page of our Author Gateway.

    Regular paper submissions should be in UK English, a maximum of 40 pages in total. The manuscript should be in 1.5 line spacing and 12 point font size with 2cm margins this includes all References, Tables, Figures, End Notes and Appendices.

    . For research notes, the corresponding page length should not exceed  25 pages with the same formatting guidelines.

    All Figures and Tables should be inserted into the main text close to their first citation and must be numbered following their number of appearance (Figure 1, Figure 2, Table 1, etc.).

    Submissions should include: a covering letter with author(s) full name, affiliation and contact details; up to four keywords; a confirmation that all authors have agreed to the submission and that the article is not currently being considered for publication by any other journal. Upon receipt, manuscripts will receive a reference number to enable authors and editors to track the paper. Papers are sent to a Consulting Editor (CE) for an initial screening process. If papers pass the initial screening, referees are assigned and asked to submit their reports within five weeks although this may vary depending on the flow of copy.

    Format of Manuscript

    Each manuscript should contain:

    1. Title page with full title and subtitle (if any).
    2. Abstract of 100-150 words
    3. Up to four key words
    4. Main text and word count. Text to be clearly organised, with a clear hierarchy of headings and subheadings and quotations exceeding 40 words displayed, indented, in the text
    5. End notes, if necessary, should be signalled by superscript numbers in the main text and listed at the end of the text before the references
    6. All Figures and Tables should be inserted into the main text close to their first citation and must be numbered following their number of appearance (Figure 1, Figure 2, Table 1, etc.).
    7. No author details to be included on the main document.

    Books for review and manuscripts of reviews should be sent to:

    Rachel Doern

    Institute of Management

    Goldsmiths, University of London

    London SE14 6NW


    4.2 Artwork, figures and other graphics

    For guidance on the preparation of illustrations, pictures and graphs in electronic format, please visit Sage’s Manuscript Submission Guidelines  

    Figures supplied in colour will appear in colour online regardless of whether or not these illustrations are reproduced in colour in the printed version. For specifically requested colour reproduction in print, you will receive information regarding the costs from Sage after receipt of your accepted article.

    4.3 Supplemental material

    International Small Business Journal does not currently accept supplemental files.

    4.4 Reference style

    International Small Business Journal adheres to the Sage Harvard reference style. View the Sage Harvard guidelines to ensure your manuscript conforms to this reference style.

    If you use EndNote to manage references, you can download the Sage Harvard EndNote output file

    4.5 English language editing services

    Authors seeking assistance with English language editing, translation, or figure and manuscript formatting to fit the journal’s specifications should consider using Sage Language Services. Visit Sage Language Services on our Journal Author Gateway for further information.

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    5. Submitting your manuscript

    International Small Business Journal is hosted on Sage Track, a web based online submission and peer review system powered by ScholarOne™ Manuscripts. Visit to login and submit your article online.

    IMPORTANT: Please check whether you already have an account in the system before trying to create a new one. If you have reviewed or authored for the journal in the past year it is likely that you will have had an account created.  For further guidance on submitting your manuscript online please visit ScholarOne Online Help.

    5.1 ORCID

    As part of our commitment to ensuring an ethical, transparent and fair peer review process Sage is a supporting member of ORCID, the Open Researcher and Contributor ID. ORCID provides a unique and persistent digital identifier that distinguishes researchers from every other researcher, even those who share the same name, and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, supports automated linkages between researchers and their professional activities, ensuring that their work is recognized. 

    The collection of ORCID IDs from corresponding authors is now part of the submission process of this journal. If you already have an ORCID ID you will be asked to associate that to your submission during the online submission process. We also strongly encourage all co-authors to link their ORCID ID to their accounts in our online peer review platforms. It takes seconds to do: click the link when prompted, sign into your ORCID account and our systems are automatically updated. Your ORCID ID will become part of your accepted publication’s metadata, making your work attributable to you and only you. Your ORCID ID is published with your article so that fellow researchers reading your work can link to your ORCID profile and from there link to your other publications.

    If you do not already have an ORCID ID please follow this link to create one or visit our ORCID homepage to learn more.

    5.2 Information required for completing your submission

    You will be asked to provide contact details and academic affiliations for all co-authors via the submission system and identify who is to be the corresponding author. These details must match what appears on your manuscript. The affiliation listed in the manuscript should be the institution where the research was conducted. If an author has moved to a new institution since completing the research, the new affiliation can be included in a manuscript note at the end of the paper. At this stage please ensure you have included all the required statements and declarations and uploaded any additional supplementary files (including reporting guidelines where relevant).

    5.3 Permissions

    Please also ensure that you have obtained any necessary permission from copyright holders for reproducing any illustrations, tables, figures or lengthy quotations previously published elsewhere. For further information including guidance on fair dealing for criticism and review, please see the Copyright and Permissions page on the Sage Author Gateway.

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    6. On acceptance and publication

    6.1 Sage Production

    Your Sage Production Editor will keep you informed as to your article’s progress throughout the production process. Proofs will be made available to the corresponding author via our editing portal Sage Edit or by email, and corrections should be made directly or notified to us promptly. Authors are reminded to check their proofs carefully to confirm that all author information, including names, affiliations, sequence and contact details are correct, and that Funding and Conflict of Interest statements, if any, are accurate. 

    6.2 Online First publication

    Online First allows final articles (completed and approved articles awaiting assignment to a future issue) to be published online prior to their inclusion in a journal issue, which significantly reduces the lead time between submission and publication. Visit the Sage Journals help page for more details, including how to cite Online First articles.

    6.3 Access to your published article

    Sage provides authors with online access to their final article.

    6.4 Promoting your article

    Publication is not the end of the process! You can help disseminate your paper and ensure it is as widely read and cited as possible. The Sage Author Gateway has numerous resources to help you promote your work. Visit the Promote Your Article page on the Gateway for tips and advice.

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           7. Further information

    Any correspondence, queries or additional requests for information on the manuscript submission process should, in the first instance,  be sent to the International Small Business Journaladministrator: Valerie Thorne:

    Robert Blackburn, Editor-in-Chief ISBJ
    Susan Marlow and Robert Wapshott, Editors ISBJ
    Valerie Thorne, Editorial Assistant ISBJ

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