Doing business underwater : flooding, entrepreneurship and resilience
Messham, Rebecca Louise
Thesis or dissertation
- © 2014 Rebecca Louise Messham. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.
Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) are extremely important to the health of the UK economy. Yet their continued survival is threatened by a plethora of risks on a daily basis. Floods affect more people and cause more economic losses than any other hazard in the UK. Accordingly, the aim of this thesis was to explore flood risk from the SME perspective by looking at case examples of Hull and Sheffield, two cities which were hit extremely hard during the summer 2007 floods. Through the conduction of 38 semi-structured interviews and the distribution of a postal questionnaire with a response rate of 8.7%, it was found that for SME owner/managers flooding is not a significant risk. It is one in a ‘package of disruptions’ which causes discontinuity to the ‘order of business’. These perceptions differ to those held by local regulatory bodies. It was revealed that the Environment Agency, Hull City Council and Sheffield City Council are at cross-purposes in regards to the resilience measures implemented to address flooding. This variation leads to the production of a ‘responsibility game’ scenario between SMEs and regulatory bodies, the catalyst for SMEs remaining vulnerable to the risk of flooding. The responsibility game develops due to limitations associated with regulatory body resilience measures. As regulatory body resilience measures are dictated by national policy, their shortcomings are attributed to constraints at a national level. Flooding has a ‘local profile’. Therefore it is recommended that flooding policies should be generated at a local scale on a place-by-place basis. Local characteristics can be taken into account and assistance can be provided by regulatory bodies which is tailored to those stakeholders in need. By doing so, it is predicted that SME vulnerability will reduce, and owner/managers will not spend a future “doing business underwater”.
- Department of History, The University of Hull
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