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Action learning: how learning transfers from entrepreneurs to small firms

Jones, K. ORCID:, Sambrook, S. A., Pittaway, L., Henley, A. and Norbury, H. (2014) Action learning: how learning transfers from entrepreneurs to small firms. Action Learning: Research and Practice, 11 (2). pp. 131-166. ISSN 1476-7333

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/14767333.2014.896249


The paper presents research with small and medium enterprise (SME) owners who have participated in a leadership development programme. The primary focus of the paper is on learning transfer and factors affecting it, arguing that entrepreneurs must engage in ‘action’ in order to ‘learn’ and that under certain conditions they may transfer learning to their firm. The paper draws on data from 19 focus groups undertaken from 2010 to 2012, involving 51 participants in the LEAD Wales programme. It considers the literatures exploring learning transfer and develops a conceptual framework, outlining four areas of focus for entrepreneurial learning. Utilising thematic analysis, it describes and evaluates what (actual facts and information) and how (techniques, styles of learning) participants transfer and what actions they take to improve the business and develop their people. The paper illustrates the complex mechanisms involved in this process and concludes that action learning is a method of facilitating entrepreneurial learning which is able to help address some of the problems of engagement, relevance and value that have been highlighted previously. The paper concludes that the efficacy of an entrepreneurial learning intervention in SMEs may depend on the effectiveness of learning transfer.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education > Improving Equity and Inclusion through Education
ID Code:46445
Uncontrolled Keywords:action learning; SMEs; entrepreneurial learning; learning transfer
Publisher:Taylor & Francis


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