To examine the extent and nature of participation of three categories of growing Australian manufacturing Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in business networks and social relationships in relation to training and learning.
The proportion of SMEs engaging in relationships with other businesses ranged from a low of 11% (low growth SMEs) to a high of 18% (moderate growth SMEs). This suggests that, at the low growth end of spectrum of business growth the proportion of SMEs engaged in relationships with other businesses, is marginal, and, at best, modest at the moderate end. Furthermore, the study showed that, for those firms that do participate in business links, the purpose of the link is not to increase their training capability, with three, four and one low, moderate and high growth SMEs respectively – less than five percent of SMEs in each of the growth categories– only linking with other businesses for training and learning-related purposes.
The study also shows there is a statistically significant correlation between training provided by equipment suppliers and business growth, with 25 per cent, 43 per cent and 51 per cent of low, moderate and high growth enterprises using equipment suppliers to provide training. Taken together, the results indicate growing SMEs are more likely to engage in cooperative training arrangements as part of normal supplier-customer relationships.
|Keywords:||Learning, Training, Business Relationships, Small to Medium-sized Enterprises|
Senior Lecturer, Flinders Business School, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
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