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Title SMES TRAINING
Small business training and competitiveness: Building case studies in different European cultural contexts
Aspect
Concept Findings Challenge
Synopsis The analysis of training and competitiveness in SMEs has led to various findings underpinned by evidence of practice in the cases concerned. The findings selected below are related to learning processes and instances of organisational change:

(1) Small to medium size is changing either to a divisional model or a structure by functions. The structural changes are affecting the management systems in place as the firms need to exercise control and co-ordination.

(2) The creation of formalised organisational processes allowed in some cases knowledge and informal procedures to become explicit through routines and formalised processes, increasing the firmís common knowledge. At the same time, however, it led to rigidity, and several of the organisations studied have taken steps to maintain or enhance employee creativity and ensure continuation of the rapid decision making that is more common in smaller and earlier phases. 

(3) In some other cases, the creation of a formalised knowledge base served to integrate new employees because it made embedded organisational knowledge explicit. On the other hand, not all of the firms studied took the same path in terms of formalising their structures formalisation path. Some firms remained small, enabling them to maintain direct and informal contacts and decision making.

(4) To strike a balance between communication rigidities caused by formalisation and the need to preserve employee motivation and creativity, firms studied undertook several mechanisms for increased motivation. Not all measures intended to foster employee initiative worked. This illustrates that it takes more than spousing theories (Argyris) to change certain performance habits (Sauquet 2002, pp. 13f.).

Reference The findings of the project are described in the final report (Sauquet 2002, pp. 18-75). 
See also project info on SMES TRAINING.
Descriptors D-CVT  D-WBL  D-KM  EP03      E08a
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Editor: Sabine Manning  © WIFO