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Sustaining Growth and Performance in East Asia

Sustaining Growth and Performance in East Asia

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

This third book in the series focuses on how small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) contribute to achieving and sustaining growth and performance in their economies, as well as the ways in which governments can assist and enhance that contribution. This is of particular concern given the trauma suffered by East Asian economies in the wake of the financial and economic crisis of 1997–98.

Chapter 7: Managing Knowledge Development in SMEs: No Longer the Poor Cousins, as Training Changes to Learning?

Llandis Barratt-Pugh

Subjects: asian studies, asian business, business and management, asia business, international business, organisation studies, economics and finance, industrial organisation


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most inadequate, and where students find concepts they learned in their first year at university have been revised and superseded by the time they move into the workplace.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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