Research highlights needs of home-based businesses

Published 7 November 2008

As more small enterprises are run from home, an understanding of the needs and challenges facing home-based businesses is essential for governments and corporations alike.

That will be the message from Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) student Jim Taggart as he presents the findings of his research into the levels of trust, commitment and reciprocity in relationships between home-based companies and their business contacts at the Doctoral Symposium at the Tweed Gold Coast campus of Southern Cross University tomorrow, November 8.

Jim Taggart, who is one of 75 doctoral candidates and academic staff attending the bi-annual symposium this weekend, said his work took a close look at activities such as networking events to determine how this sector does business.

“One of the criticisms of working from home is that it can be an isolating experience, and the research found that in particular, older home-based workers went to networking events because they provided a social stimulus,” said Mr Taggart.

“Conversely, younger age groups were present in order to do business, but the perception among the sample group was that networking events do not live up to expectations, despite the obvious opportunities they present for those working from home.

“It was thought that attendees act differently to how they really are, making it difficult to build trust and therefore meaningful business contacts.”

Mr Taggart was last week appointed President of the Association of Financial Advisors of Australia and also runs Sydney-based financial service company, the Taggart Group.

He will join other business leaders, academics and researchers from across Australia as they present their diverse research findings. Other topics include: leadership in Australia; preparing employees for change; the role of sporting events in relation to social capital in regional Australia; and the informational efficiency of carbon markets.

Acting Director of the International Centre of Professional Doctorates, Professor Philip Neck said that the symposium would lay emphasis on the practical applications of the research.

“The research conducted as part of the doctoral program not only has an impact in the academic world, but also influences thinking in industry, policy making and society in general – so it is extremely important and relevant,” said Professor Neck.

“The range of topics reflect the modern approach to business, and we will be highlighting how doctoral students can best disseminate and apply their new ideas and knowledge to the real world after graduating.”

Mr Taggart said that home-based businesses accounted for a significant part of economic activity.

“Many people assume that those who work from home have a healthy work/life balance, but in fact most are exceptionally tied to their business and juggle demanding work requirements with family needs,” said Mr Taggart.

“Their work is not confined to Monday to Friday, yet they are often restricted by the inflexible working hours of the people they do business with.

“Depending on which figures you look at, there are between 850,000 and 1.2 million businesses run from home in Australia.

“The more that is understood about this important segment, the better placed those who work with them will be to nurture positive and productive business relationships.”

Photo: Jim Taggart

Media contact: Zuleika Henderson media officer, Southern Cross University Tweed Gold Coast Campus: 07 5506 9385 or 0408 644533