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Learning in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Stream

Stream Leads: Dr Heather Short (University of Portsmouth) and Prof David Gray (University of Greenwich)

Although there has been increased interest in organisational learning in recent years, negligible empirical evidence of learning in SMEs has been published. In many economies, SMEs comprise around 99% of all businesses, provide over 50% of employment and generate about 50% of turnover.  Therefore, through their significant and continuous contribution to employment and economic growth, SMEs are frequently cited as being critical to the economy, with consequent calls for more exploration of learning in such organisations. While much Human Resource Development (HRD) literature continues to be influenced by the experience and priorities of large organisations, scaling down large organisation learning methods appears unlikely to be appropriate to SMEs and HRD in SMEs has remained under-researched and under-reported.

We are keen to address the lack of empirical evidence of HRD in SMEs and so welcome papers in this area, including research studies and workplace case-studies, as well as theoretical or conceptual papers.  Possible topics include (but are not limited to) the influence of owner-managers and/or resource constraints on HRD in SMEs, the effects of organisational size on learning (perhaps comparing SMEs with larger organisations or examining HRD in SMEs of different sizes) and the different methods/media used in learning in SMEs.

Please note that, as definitions of SMEs vary internationally, this stream will consider studies of organisations with up to 500 employees (North American definition). 

Please note that the Call for Papers for this stream is now CLOSED.

If you have submitted a paper to this stream please see the Call for Papers page for updates and further information. 

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