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Pro-growth small businesses: learning architecture

Bergin-Seer, Sue and Morrison, Alison J. (2002) Pro-growth small businesses: learning architecture. Journal of Management Development, 21 (5). pp. 388-400. ISSN 0262-1711

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Internationally, a certain market failure has become apparent in terms of the effective engagement of small business owner-managers in business support programs, and in the wider concept of life long learning. There exists a cultural gap between support agencies and the small business sector's perceptions of the utility of formal support and learning interventions to the business performance of their business. Therefore, this paper extends knowledge and understanding within this context relative to what constitutes small business owner-managers' learning disposition, means, obstacles and organisation to be confronted and what form of new 'architecture' needs to be designed to support learning. A theoretical framework supports the analysis of findings from a research project based in Melbourne, Australia, which serves to illuminate pertinent issues towards informing more sensitised support interventions. Specifically, the attribute of a learning culture was identified as a factor contributing to growth in small businesses, and may represent a distinguishing characteristic between effective and non-effective economic performers.