The arguably prevailing, or conventional view of autonomy is that if employees are granted greater autonomy, the firm will achieve higher levels of performance. However, the performance effects of employee autonomy have received relatively scant research attention (Lumpkin, Cogliser & Schneider 2009). In this research we propose that in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), granting high employee autonomy, as captured within the firm’s strategic orientation, is not necessarily the best strategic course of action and therefore may be associated with lower firm performance. Rather it may often be better to have less (as opposed to more autonomy) within SMEs where targeted resource deployments are important to focus efforts and achieve growth. To gain additional insight, we explore organizational risk-taking in general, and top management team TMT focused opportunity exploration in particular, as drivers of employee autonomy and SME firm performance.