Small shop survival : the dairy-grocery as a case in point : a thesis submitted to the Department of Sociology, Massey University in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts
The study of dairy-grocers presented here goes some way toward filling the gap in social science knowledge of small shops in particular and small businesses in general. The aims of the study were: 1) to outline the broad environmental forces which have, in recent years, provided an unfavourable background for small business operation; 2) to give an account of the experiences of small shopkeepers in the context of their work; and 3) to examine how the experiences in question could best be collated as a theory which might explain the position of small shops and small shopkeepers in society. It was concluded, from the case study of dairy-grocers, that small shops and their owners are becoming structurally marginal. By structurally marginal is meant /....the condition of persons for whom institutionalised roles are not readily available, and who, as a consequence, suffer from a deficiency of social worth (Wittermans and Kraus, 1974:351). In view of the conclusions reached in the study, it is argued that current attempts to provide aid for the small shop will be unsuccessful in many instances unless small shops can be reintegrated into society as an important component of the retailing heirarchy. The research was qualitative in nature and took the form of a case study. The case study approach was adopted to allow an in depth analysis of the problems at hand. The major research technique used was that of intensive interviewing. The research was perceived of as exploratory and was therefore not guided by formal hypotheses. It is hoped that the great deal of descriptive data that was generated in the search for a theoretical explanation of the small shopkeeper in society, will be of use to researchers from the sociological areas of work, occupations, economic activity and the family.