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Engaging the small firm in learning: Practice based theorising on complex social knowledge

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Purpose ‐ The paper sets out to suggest that knowledge in the SME enterprise is embodied as evident in such notions as tacit knowing and learning, and embedded grounded in the situated social historic contexts of individual lives and work. This supports the view that the nature of knowledge is inherently indeterminate and continually evolving. Design/methodology/approach ‐ A practice-based approach focuses towards, the point of action, enabling the researcher to observe knowing as an intimate recursive feature of organisational life, the local in which traditional dualisms lose their meaning, in the specific context of real time practices, in that the knowing subject and the known objects cannot be treated in isolation and opposed to one another, the given and the emergent co-exist and presuppose one another. Findings ‐ The paper offers the suggestion that a social process perspective offers a means of engaging the SME enterprise in more effective knowledge creating activities, and fostering innovation, which is both relevant and useful to them. Practical implications ‐ The paper offers the suggestion that a social process perspective offers a means of engaging the SME enterprise in more effective knowledge creating activities, and fostering innovation, which is both relevant and useful to them. Originality/value ‐ The paper seeks to extend the current conceptualisations of organisational learning developing the view that learning is no longer associated with the diffusions of pieces of knowledge, but rather it is viewed as the process of developing of situated identities based on participation in a process of social engagement and interaction.
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Keywords: Knowledge management; Learning organizations; Small to medium-sized enterprises

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 23, 2009

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