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Learning in and beyond small business advisory programmes

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The purpose of this paper is to analyse how participants learn in small business advisory programmes and to explore the impact of these learning programmes on the development of reflective learning dispositions in participants. The research involves two case studies of small business advisory programmes in Queensland, a state of Australia. One involves training in the use of GPS/GIS technology amongst rural SMEs and the other seeks to develop improved management and operational capabilities in regional and metropolitan manufacturing SMEs. Face to face semi-structured interviews were conducted throughout rural, regional and metropolitan Queensland with participants, trainers and senior executives in the administering organisations that ran the programmes. Learning in these programmes occurs through a combination of interaction with others and the adoption of practice-based and learner-centred processes. The impact of the programmes on participants includes the development of reflective learning dispositions, improved confidence in learning and appreciation of the value of new knowledge to their business. The research suggests that small business training programmes have the potential to affect the development of critical reflective learning dispositions in participants which is of fundamental importance to the development of a learning or knowledge economy.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02601370.2012.663797

Affiliations: 1: School of Management, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia 2: University of Queensland Business School, Brisbane, Australia

Publication date: April 1, 2012

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