1,676 research outputs found

    Environmental stress responses in Lactococcus lactis

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    Bacteria can encounter a variety of physical conditions during their life. Bacterial cells are able to survive these (often adverse) conditions by the induction of specific or general protection mechanisms. The lactic acid bacterium Lactococcus lactis is widely used for the production of cheese. Before and during this process as well as in its natural habitats, it is subjected to several stressful conditions. Such conditions include oxidation, heating and cooling, acid, high osmolarity/dehydration and starvation. In many environments combinations of these parameters occur. Understanding the stress response behaviour of L. lactis is important to optimize its application in industrial fermentations and is of fundamental interest as L. lactis is a non-differentiating Gram-positive bacterium. The stress response mechanisms of L. lactis have drawn increasing attention in recent years. The presence in L. lactis of a number of the conserved systems (e.g. the heat shock proteins) has been confirmed. Some of the regulatory mechanisms responding to an environmental stress condition are related to those found in other Gram-positive bacteria. Other stress response systems are conserved at the protein level but are under control of mechanisms unique for L. lactis. In a number of cases exposure to a single type of stress provides resistance to other adverse conditions. The unravelling of the underlying regulatory systems gives insight into the development of such cross resistance. Taken together, L. lactis has a unique set of stress response mechanisms, most of which have been identified on the basis of homology with proteins known from other bacteria. A number of the regulatory elements may provide attractive tools for the development of food grade inducible gene expression systems. Here an overview of the growth limits of L. lactis and the molecular characterization of its stress resistance mechanisms is presented.

    The relevance of size, gender and ownership for performance-related pay schemes

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    With performance-related pay, the reward for an employee is partly dependent upon its own performance and/or on the performance of the organisation. In the Netherlands, performance-related pay is being implemented in SMEs an increasing scale. Currently, about 25% of Dutch SMEs make use of some kind of performance-related pay scheme, which may include profit sharing, bonuses, gratuities and stock options.� The aim of this study is to increase our understanding of the usage of performance-related pay schemes in Dutch small and medium-sized enterprises. In particular, we examine whether firm size, ownership structure, and gender of the entrepreneur and employees predict the presence of performance-related pay schemes. The results show that larger SMEs are more likely to use performance-related pay than smaller SMEs (as can be expected). We also find strong support for the presence of a gender effect. The results indicate that for male entrepreneurs, the use of performance-related pay is independent of the gender composition of the work force. For female entrepreneurs, we find that the usage of performance-related pay increases with the share of male employees. This relationship is such, that for firms where more than 70% of the workforce is male, female entrepreneurs are more likely to apply performance-related pay then male entrepreneurs. A possible explanation is that female entrepreneurs are more inclined to take the preferences of their employees into account when they determine the compensation scheme of their enterprise. Finally, the ownership structure also seems to matter. The results suggest that we should differentiate between (at least) three different ownership structures: single-owned and managed firms, family firms (firms with multiple owners that have family ties between them), and multiple-owned non-family firms. Once we do so, we find that single-owned and managed firms are just as likely to use performance-related pay schemes as family firms. Both types of firms use performance-related pay significantly less often than multiple-owned non-family firms. �

    Human-resource-based theory of the small firm, A

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    Presentatie van een conceptueel model over de wijze waarop personeelsbeleid tot stand komt in kleinere bedrijven. Het model geeft weer hoe verschillende algemene kenmerken van kleinere bedrijven zich verhouden tot het personeelsbeleid. Personeelsbeleid in kleinere bedrijven wordt door drie karakteristieken gekenmerkt, te weten een sterke nadruk op teamgeest, een informele werkwijze en een centrale rol van de ondernemer.

    Do Small Businesses Create More Jobs? New Evidence for Europe

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    In this paper we argue why, in our view, the so-called dynamic classification method should be favored when determining the contribution of small businesses towards job creation. First, it is the only method that consistently attributes job creation or loss to the size class in which it actually occurs. In addition, dynamic classification has two other advantages: (i) it is not vulnerable to the so-called regression to the mean bias and (ii) only a small number of aggregated data are required for its application. Using the dynamic classification we analyze job creation within the different size classes for the 27 Member States of the European Union. Our main findings are as follows: For the EU as a whole, smaller firms contribute on a larger scale towards job creation than larger firms do. Net job creation rates decrease with each firm size class. This pattern occurs in most industries however, not in all: the manufacturing industry and trade industry show different patterns. At the level of individual countries, the net job creation rate also tends todecrease with each firm size class. However, this relation is not perfect.

    Sibship size and status attainment across contexts: Evidence from the Netherlands, 1840-1925

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    This paper investigates the effects of sibship size on status attainment across different contexts and subgroups. Resource dilution theory predicts that with larger sibship size, children’s status outcomes fall. However, the empirical record has shown that this is not always the case. In this paper we have tested three alternative hypotheses for neutral or even positive effects of sibship size on status attainment on the basis of a large-scale registry database covering the period of industrialization and fertility decline in the Netherlands in the nineteenth and early twentieth-century. Our findings offer support for the family developmental cycle, buffering by kin groups, and socio-economic development as alternative explanations to the resource dilution hypothesis.child well-being, family size, Netherlands, nineteenth century, resource dilution theory, sibship size, status attainment

    Is human resource management profitable for small firms?

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    The impact of high performance work systems on labour productivity and profit of small and medium sized enterprises. Previous versions of this paper have been presented at the 2005 conference of the Dutch HRM Network on HRM and performance (held on 4 and 5 November of that year) and the invited workshop 'Entrepreneurship from the employee's perspective' at the Max Planck Institute of Economics in Jena (Februari 2006). The paper presented at the Mack Planck Institute has been published as EIM Scales Paper N200520. The research presented in this paper focuses on the effectiveness of a high performance work system. This system is comprised of practices in the areas of extensiveness of staffing, performance based pay, pay level, job rotation, training and participation. In particular, this study focuses on the effects of such a system on the performance of small and medium-sized enterprises. Results of our study, among small and medium size enterprises in the Netherlands, show that firms with such a system have higher labour productivity, are more innovative and generate higher profits.� These results suggest that high performance work systems are not only relevant in large corporations, but may also benefit small firms.

    New Firm Performance: Does the Age of Founders Affect Employment Creation?

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    The ageing population increasingly becomes a challenge for policy makers. Given the expected changes in the age decomposition of the workforce, it becomes more pressing to understand the nature of the relationship between age and entrepreneurship. More specifically: what are the consequences of an ageing (entrepreneurial) population on entrepreneurial performance?� A recent study by EIM investigates the effect of the age of the entrepreneur at start-up on the size of newly started firms. A distinction is made between the decision of entrepreneurs whether or not to become an employer, and the decision of employers to hire a certain number of employees. To examine to which extent age has a direct and/or indirect effect on these two decision, a sample of 849 new firms has been used that survived the first three years after start-up.� A first conclusion of the empirical analysis is that it is important to make the distinction between the two decisions: the decision of entrepreneurs whether or not to become an employer depends on other factors than the decision of employers regarding the number of employees. A second conclusion is that age has a negative relationship with the outcome of both decisions, but that these relationships are completely mediated by the mediating variables included in the study. Entrepreneurs who start at older age are less likely to work fulltime in their new venture, are less willing to take risks and have a lower perception of their entrepreneurial skills. Each of these factors has, in turn, a positive impact on the probability of employing personnel. For the number of employees a negative indirect effect of age exists, through the effect of age on the perception of entrepreneurial skills. �

    The risk of growing fast

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    Are firm growth and firm survival related to each other? This paper tests the hypothesis that the relationship between firm growth and firm survival can be characterised by an inverted U-shaped relation. This hypothesis is confirmed by our estimations. At the same time, the results indicate that the top of the inverted U-shaped relation occurs at very high growth rates. This suggests that for the large majority of enterprises, the relationship between firm growth and firm survival can be better described by a positive relationship rather than an inverted U-shaped relationship. Although these results are preliminary, they suggest that policies that aim to increase the number of fast-growing firms have no negative effects on the rate of firm deaths.

    Can firm age account for productivity differences?

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    The productivity of enterprises is an important indicator, for individual enterprises as well as for policy makers. For individual firms, their productivity is a main determinant of their performance, while the aggregate productivity is one of the main determinants of economic growth. In this study we examine the relationship between the age of firms and the level and growth rate of productivity, focusing on firms of at least 10 years of age. For these firms, we will examine the following two research questions: How does the distribution of firm productivity (as characterised by mean and standard deviation) change over age cohorts? To which extent are differences in productivity between individual firms related to firm age?
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