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Training commitment and performance in manufacturing SMEs: incidence, intensity and approaches

Jayawarna, Dilani and Macpherson, Allan and Wilson, Alison (2007) Training commitment and performance in manufacturing SMEs: incidence, intensity and approaches. Journal of small business and enterprise development, 14 (2). pp. 321-338. ISSN 1462-6004

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Abstract

Purpose – This study sets out to examine management development activities within manufacturing SMEs, and their impact on performance. Unlike previous published studies that concentrate on formal training, this empirical analysis includes both formal and informal training. Performance is measured in terms of turnover, employee growth, and survival. It also includes consideration of the firm's context on both training approach and performance. Design/methodology/approach – Survey responses from 198 manufacturing SMEs in the UK are analysed using descriptive statistics, multiple regression analysis, and ANOVA. Findings – Findings indicate that formal training is likely to be a targeted activity that contributes more significantly to performance than informal training. Also, the approach and influence of training are dependent on contingent factors. A model is proposed for a further detailed study of these contingent factors using a multivariate statistical analysis. Originality/value – For SME managers, while they may prefer informal training approaches, they would benefit from seeking a formal training intervention that directly addresses their specific needs. For business support policy, support options need to be flexible enough to provide idiosyncratic solutions. Generic training solutions are not welcomed by SMEs, and are unlikely to provide significant performance benefits. A greater understanding is required of the variety of contingent variables that moderates the relationship between choices of training approach, and between training and performance.

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