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MBA for small firms and microenterprises? Development issues

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Purpose - To report on an investigation amongst small firm owner-managers in the service sector into potential demand for an MBA. Design/methodology/approach - Relevant recent literature is critiqued concerning small firms and learning, and MBAs and small firms. A description is given of the research methods employed involving a mail questionnaire sent to 600 small and microenterprises eliciting 99 completed questionnaires, and follow-up interviews with a sample of 20 respondents. Findings - Identifies a potential market for an MBA tailor-made to the requirements of a "learning segment" of small firm owner-managers. Finds owner-managers have sophisticated product requirements to be satisfied which would necessitate significant changes in higher education course provision and processes. Research limitations/implications - The research was not concerned with investigating price. Bridging the gap between meeting the educational needs of small firms and higher education provision would help to address issues of social exclusion and potentially enhance the competitive economy. Practical implications - Higher education institutions need to make significant changes to course provision and teaching, learning and assessment processes in order to develop an MBA product appropriate for the small firm market. Originality/value - Assists with planning and designing a small firm MBA. Furthers debate concerning small firms and lifelong learning in order to develop a more competitive economy.
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Keywords: Business Administration; Learning; Master of Business Administration; Services; Small Enterprises

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2005

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