Investigating educational issues across Europe (ACROSS Base)
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Project DELOS - Developing learning organisation models in SME clusters
Overview The objectives of this project were to investigate the organisational learning processes that arise through clustering and to give working indications capable of supporting training and occupational policies in favour of SME. In particular, it sought to identify operative models of competence development and transfer within and between SMEs.

The project started with a mapping exercise in order to identify the clusters to be further investigated in-depth. Secondly a baseline survey was set up in order to provide a common profile of firms and, thirdly, real clusters were analysed using case studies; data were processed through a cluster and multivariate analysis; results were elaborated in a comparative report. The project ended with a reference model identification and a set of practical tools and guidelines. 

Addressing the final question of transferability of the cluster model, it was argued that there is no universal type of SME cluster; instead the project identified a typology of five clusters which were consistent with types of organisational learning practices representing different configurations of socio-cultural embeddedness.

A specific aim was to share, among partners, a common theoretical and pragmatic perspective of the key-concepts 'SME clusters' and 'learning organisation', based on an iterative heuristic process of (re)shaping definitions and deepening meanings in order to come to a common and shared perspective. (Sarcina, 1998, pp. 1, 3, 18, 65, 66, 88).

Insight The final report (Sarcina, 1998) provides a detailed review of the methodological approach adopted in this project.
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