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Subject Competence development in SME’s in general and in pharmacies in particular
Ida Wognum, Bernard Veldkamp; University of Twente, The Netherlands
Andries de Grip, Inge Sieben; Maastricht University, The Netherlands
Outline Various studies point to a heterogeneity of workforce development, or HRD, in small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Differences can be found, among others, because SMEs operate in different sectors. In the reported study the focus is on the sector of public pharmacies in the Netherlands. Dutch pharmacies feature a mix of professional orientation and business orientation, and pharmacists' assistants need pharmaceutical skills as well as more firm specific skills to perform their job adequately. The first research question, therefore, concerns an investigation into formal as well as informal way of developing pharmaceutical and firm-specific competences in the Dutch pharmacies. The second question is about the relationship between HRD activities and employee turnover.
    The findings provide an insight into competence development in Dutch pharmacies as compared to SMEs in general. Also similarities and differences between perspectives of employees and those of employers in the pharmacy sector come into sight, as well as differences between sector-specific competence development and the development of more generic skills like computer and communication skills. Moreover, the findings provide some insights into the relationship between sector-specific and more generic HRD activities and employee turnover in the pharmacy sector.
    Another conclusion concerned the strong learning culture found in the pharmacy sector. However, no significant relationship was found between competency level and participation in training meaning employee competency level is not a main starting point for competence development. The results point to a more or less automatism in attending courses probably due to specific rules in the pharmacy sector. The results indicate an absence of a thought-out HRD policy. Future research is important to find implications of recent developments in this perspective.
Source Paper presented at the 5th conference on human resource development research and practice across Europe: International, comparative and cross-cultural dimensions of HRD. University of Limerick, 27-28 May 2004 (Abstract; full paper incl. in CD-ROM).
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