Purpose – The implementation of e‐learning can help SMEs to develop skills to cope with their operational environments, but current literature suggests they are not effectively engaged, partly due to a lack of understanding and mistrust of vendors. This paper considers the potential for a more effective transfer of marketing knowledge to firms through e‐learning and e‐collaboration frameworks. Design/methodology/approach – This research identifies the perceptions of SMEs towards e‐learning and the propensity of managers to embrace technology‐based training. It investigates SMEs preference for training delivery and the potential for an e‐centric collaborative learning environment to support effective knowledge transfer. Findings – Organisations must be capable of learning from experiences and of disseminating learning, to respond to emerging market conditions. The research endorses the need for a focused approach to e‐learning that facilitates social interaction and learning in order to harness the value of shared tacit knowledge. Research limitations/implications – The research sample was limited to 24 respondents from the West Midlands region. Practical implications – Support providers need to maximise their research effort in order to fully understand the social and cultural implications of e‐collaboration, and offer effective solutions that will allow SMEs to manage and develop their tacit knowledge resources effectively. Originality/value – This paper identifies the need for e‐learning solutions to be constructed to add value to the learning experience and to harness the potential for exploiting tacit knowledge in SMEs.
Journal of European Industrial Training – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 3, 2009
Keywords: Tacit knowledge; Small to medium‐sized enterprises; E‐learning