The Role of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises
Studies of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in East Asia series
Edited by Charles Harvie and Boon-Chye Lee
Chapter 7: Managing Knowledge Development in SMEs: No Longer the Poor Cousins, as Training Changes to Learning?
1 Llandis Barratt-Pugh 7.1 INTRODUCTION: A KNOWLEDGE-DRIVEN WORLD One of the advantages in being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries. A.A. Milne (1882–1956) We live in a world where our four-year-old computers often look most inadequate, and where students ﬁnd concepts they learned in their ﬁrst year at university have been revised and superseded by the time they move into the workplace. The speed at which our knowledge base is changing has a critical impact on the way organizations form, compete and regenerate. As knowledge creation and learning become core business capabilities, how does this reposition small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)? So long the poor cousins of larger organizations in terms of formal training activity, are they just as poorly placed when developing organizational learning capability? Let me paint for you a workplace scenario. Whether in large or smaller organizations we ﬁnd ourselves thrust into an ‘enterprizing world’ where, as knowledge workers, we are required to be enterprizing beings. The world of work for many has increasingly become the American 24/7, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In the past, our more mechanistic workplaces were controlled by ordering us in time and space. Managers wanted to know where we were, and what we were doing. Now our jobs are less tangible, less bound by place and time, and all too often dominate our own social space. Management control in such a situation now relies on ﬁltering the texts that we read, and mediating the...
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