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Re-conceptualising learning spaces: developing capabilities in a high-tech small firm

Macpherson, Allan and Jones, Oswald and Zhang, Michael and Wilson, Alison (2003) Re-conceptualising learning spaces: developing capabilities in a high-tech small firm. Journal of workplace learning, 15 (6). pp. 259-270. ISSN 1366-5626

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Abstract

Examines the process of managerial learning in a relatively remote rural small-sized firm. Relational competences and organisational innovation are key to the capture, employment and creation of knowledge and learning within the firm. The case study organisation has created a virtual cluster of innovation, through their supply network, that reaches well beyond the traditional regional institutional support mechanisms. Through this network of relationships, they have enhanced their own learning, facilitated the learning of supplier firms and integrated knowledge to create opportunities for product innovation and development. The paper concludes that these learning experiences indicate policy implications for the support of learning in small firms. To overcome failings in traditional support systems, policy should be directed at the development and maintenance of learning networks. This informal and organisational specific approach to learning and development overcomes some of the barriers to managerial learning in SMEs, and is a method that will address the specific business needs of small firms.

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