Some Characteristics of SME
This “complex and diversified world” (Parlier, 2004) groups together hundred thousands of business under the “small and medium-sized enterprises” expression on the criteria of the size, on the first place: less than 500 persons in France and less than 250 for Europe (turnover of less than 40 M€ and financial independence). Note that, for two decades, both in research and in teachings, university people have focused on middle-sized business (more than 50) and on entrepreneurship (in most cases, the organizer is alone, or is helped by a few colleagues), this leaves the majority of SME insufficiently explored (Marchesnay, 2003).
However, some of the common characteristics of the small size business-management centralization, weak specialization, simple or not very organized information systems, intuitive, or not very formalized strategy (Grepme, 1994) for example—could be translated into different aspects of proximity notions—respectively: spatial proximity, hierarchical proximity, functional proximity and the coordination of proximity, information systems of proximity, and temporal proximity (Torres, 2000).
In any case, the major part of these characteristics allow to see the company director’s omnipresence, including HRM, reserved for huge structures, knowing in SME a remarkable evolution, of which he is “the necessary way” (Duchéneaut, 1995).