Using capital theory to explore problem solving and innovation in small firms

Jane Glover, Donna Champion*, Kevin Daniels, Grahame Boocock

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate how small firms work at a micro-level, applying Bourdieu’s Capital Theory to give insight into the way individuals use the social and cultural capital at their disposal, to innovate and solve problems. Design/methodology/approach – The authors applied qualitative methods to explore problem solving and innovation activities at the micro-level in small firms, using interviews and thematic analysis. Findings – The findings reveal that, compared to firms with lower levels of social and cultural capital, firms which possess higher levels of social and cultural capital have a higher success rate in problem solving and are more likely to engage in innovative activity. Social and cultural capitals complement and reinforce one another in small firms, for example an enhanced ability to utilise networks (social capital) allows small firms to access a greater diversity of knowledge (cultural capital). Originality/value – Little is known about how different forms of capital are utilised in the day-to-day operations and problem solving of small firms: the application of Bourdieu’s Capital Theory offered an original frame in which to explore these activities.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)25-43
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Small Business and Enterprise Development
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2016


    • Capital relationships
    • Cultural capital
    • Innovation
    • Problem solving
    • Small firms
    • Social capital

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
    • Strategy and Management


    Dive into the research topics of 'Using capital theory to explore problem solving and innovation in small firms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this