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Collaborative approaches to management learning in small firms
Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL).ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6476-2547
2003 (English)In: Journal of Workplace Learning, ISSN 1366-5626, E-ISSN 1758-7859, Vol. 15, no 5, p. 203-216Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this paper is to describe how learning in collaborative approaches – in this paper labeled “collaborative approaches to management learning” (CAML) – can support the learning situation of small firm owner-managers. Drawing on a socio-cognitive learning framework, the context of the small firm and its consequences for management learning are framed and discussed. Drawing on four episodes of management learning in CAML, it is suggested that CAML establishes a new context in which old truths can be questioned and new insights can be created. In CAML the owner-managers are offered a position on the periphery of practice of the other managers and other network visitors, where trust among the network participants provides the foundation for admitting and openly facing lack of knowledge on different issues, something that is prohibited within their enterprises, due to the lack of peers and expected omniscience of the owner-manager.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2003. Vol. 15, no 5, p. 203-216
Keywords [en]
Learning cycles, Management development, Small enterprises
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-294DOI: 10.1108/13665620310483903Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84993099030Local ID: 2082/591OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-294DiVA, id: diva2:237473
Available from: 2006-11-28 Created: 2006-11-28 Last updated: 2018-02-09Bibliographically 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, Henrik

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