HRD in Small Organisations: Research and Practice

By Jim Stewart; Graham Beaver | Go to book overview

9

Knowledge migration in an academic-SME partnership

How useful is the Teaching Company Scheme as a vehicle for HRD in SMEs?
Elaine Eades and Paul Iles
Objectives
• To test knowledge migration models using a specific case study of an SME.
• To identify the potential effectiveness of Teaching Company Schemes (TCS) as a model/process for HRD in SMEs.
• To identify blockages/barriers to the effectiveness of the TCS process.
• To identify the skills required by TCS Associates and Academics in managing the process.

Theoretical context

As Thomson et al. (2001) and Iles and Yolles (Chapter 8 in this book) point out, a prevailing view of HRD in SMEs is that such firms do not face any specific HRD issues separate from large firms; all they require is formal ‘enterprise training’ in business and commercial skills to assist their successful growth into large firms, with all their benefits in terms of employment opportunities. Such a view is often held by government, with a plethora of initiatives launched to upgrade skills in SMEs. However, as Iles and Yolles point out, such a view suffers from an over-homogenous, undifferentiated view of SMEs (SMEs are not just scaled-down large firms, and are not just different from large firms, but also differ among themselves). Such a view also suffers from a limited view of appropriate HRD interventions, confined to formal training solutions.

As Walton (1999) points out,

Until comparatively recently, there has been little attempt in the HRD literature to differentiate between larger and smaller organisations and to address the impact that size and associated resource constraints might have upon both size and desired approaches to learning.

(Walton 1999:324)

Such firms are unlikely to have a specialist HRD function, department or staff, and may be resistant to formal training for a variety of reasons such as its cost, long-term

-168-

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