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The emergent prerequisites of managerial learning in small firm networks
Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL). Department for Project Management and FENIX Research Program, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden & Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6476-2547
Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7139-7338
2004 (English)In: Leadership & Organization Development Journal, ISSN 0143-7739, E-ISSN 1472-5347, Vol. 25, no 3/4, p. 292-307Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Descriptive studies have shown that co-operation in networks produces better possibilities for higher-level learning than small firms can organise on their own. Previous studies of learning in networks, however, have not considered how the prerequisites for higher-level learning develop over time in networks. This paper reports on a seven-year participant observational study of two different network constellations. A conclusion from the study is that the learning in networks of small-firm owner/managers is based on trust and has emergent prerequisites. These prerequisites are reciprocity between learning actors, the learning actors’ receptive and confronting capacity, and the transparency of the dialogue in the networks. Over time these prerequisites develop and create better opportunities for higher-level learning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bradford: MCB Publishing , 2004. Vol. 25, no 3/4, p. 292-307
Keywords [en]
Learning, Management development, Small enterprises
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-275DOI: 10.1108/01437730410531083Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84992943361Local ID: 2082/571OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-275DiVA, id: diva2:237454
Available from: 2006-11-27 Created: 2006-11-27 Last updated: 2018-02-23Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Managerial work and learning in small firms
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Managerial work and learning in small firms
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis deals with how managerial work sets the agenda for managerial learning in small firms. Although studies of learning in organizations are numerous, research on managerial learning in the small-firm context is limited. In particular, our knowledge of managerial learning suffers from an insufficient understanding of what top managers in small firms do. The primary purpose of this thesis is to describe how the work of small-firm managers sets the agenda for managerial learning, and how their learning can be supported. Additionally, the thesis explores the use of so-called “Action Technologies” in supporting managerial learning in small firms.Drawing on an observational study of six owner-managers in small (17-43 employees) manufacturing firms, and a synthesis of earlier studies, this thesis shows that three features of managerial work shape managerial learning in small firms: The small firm’s top manager (i) operates in context with specific structural conditions that affect his/her behavior, (ii) have certain cognitive predispositions guiding his/her behavior, and (iii) have certain behavioral preferences directing his/her behavior.The main argument in this thesis is that managerial learning in small firms is made difficult due to features that make it hard to come to a point where learning (in terms of reflection and conceptualization) is given time and resources, as the manager has trouble in finding time for learning, and as learning risks to become low-priority. Learning is also difficult due to barriers related to the learning process: the work of the manager fosters a superficial learning orientation, makes it difficult to probe deeply into and to develop complicated understandings of issues at hand, and makes peer-learning rarely possible.Drawing on an action research project of managerial learning in four networks of small-firm owner-managers, the thesis also explores, in a concrete manner, how managerial learning might be supported in a way that circumvents the deficient situation for managerial learning in this kind of firm. More specifically, it seems that Action Technologies by their design constitute a learning context that supports the learning of the small-firm top manager by dissolving the barriers to learning identified above.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Gothenburg: Chalmers University of Technology, 2005. p. 69
Series
Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie, ISSN 0346-718X ; 2265
Keywords
Managerial learning, Managerial work, Managerial behavior, Owner-manager, Small firms, Direct observations
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-555 (URN)2082/896 (Local ID)91-7291-583-8 (ISBN)2082/896 (Archive number)2082/896 (OAI)
Public defence
(English)
Note

Original papers included. Paper III, "Managerial behavior in small firms - a critical analysis of evidence from observational studies" changed title to "Managerial work in small firms: summarising what we know and sketching a research agenda".

Available from: 2007-03-03 Created: 2007-03-03 Last updated: 2013-10-15Bibliographically approved

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Florén, HenrikTell, Joakim

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