INSEAD and the London Business School cite the principal factor of a “new economy” firm as one where the main product or service has been developed around information enabled by the Internet, and an “e-business” as any business conducted in whole, or in part, through a digital infrastructure.

Most HR research conducted to date has examined large, successful, well-established companies and thus may be of limited use when studying e-businesses. This report presents findings from research into the HR strategies and practices in a group of UK e-businesses. In addition, the report aims to benchmark the “e-business way” against the nationally representative findings in 1998’s Workplace Employee Relations Survey.

The research was exploratory in nature, using case studies to better understand the decision-making processes and employee involvement processes inside e-businesses. The case studies demonstrate that UK e-businesses are forging their own distinctive decision-making processes, with organisational decision making characterised by a balance between the informal and the formal, the flexible and the structured. 

While this report does not suggest here is a one-best-way to manage an e-business, it does note that successful firms have retained flexible working patterns while making use of more ‘traditional’ policies and practices. A worthwhile and valued voice in the workplace, involving all parties concerned with decision-making has proven successful, and HR, especially greater employee involvement, may be the best way of running these companies.

To download the full report please click here.