Drawing on research based on interviews with small firms in north‐east England, looks at the process of learning in and by small organisations (with 50 or fewer employees). Finds that the dominant culture of small organisations points to the need to develop alternative approaches to HRD that do not rely on business plans or training needs analyses. Examines small organisations in terms of five key characteristics: adaptability; planning; information and knowledge; human resource development; and growth. Finds that small organisations are characterised by: a paternalistic culture; an informal approach to planning; the importance of an individual’s ideas and character; learning by working with others (rather than formal training); and a belief in the importance of growth. Calls into question the validity of the often quoted “training deficit” from which small organisations are said to suffer and suggests that the networking function of the entrepreneur may be less important than other functions and qualities.
The Learning Organization – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 1, 1998
Keywords: Entrepreneurs; Flexibility; Learning organizations; Small‐ to medium‐sized enterprises; Training needs; United Kingdom
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