Dr Alf and the Guardian are both right in that small businesses can by virtue of their size be more like families. Business owners and founding directors can know every worker by name, in a way that one never could be in a large business of the kind I used to spend my earlier corporate life in, such as GE, Burton Group Financial Services and Lincoln National.
Setting clear expectations is much easier if your staff know you and you know them. In larger organisations, politics and game-playing worthy of Machiavelli on steroids can make X or Y proposition or initiative and their promoters go from stellar status to dud status in a blink of an eye.
Similarly decision-making in smaller companies can be much faster in that in larger ones there are many layers of decision making before the detailed financial evaluations that Dr Alf used to undertake as easily as breathing, are undertaken.
In larger companies, people who are lazy and unproductive have opportunities to hide which in a smaller company would be more or less impossible due to the close proximity of the boss and co-workers.
It is for these reasons that the future hope for new job-growth must be with small businesses. Large businesses will increasing turn to technology, outsourcing and offshoring. Large businesses are also a haven for the black arts of Niccolo Machiavelli.