Learning new practices in small business: Engagement and localised support
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This paper discusses the findings of a study that investigated how the learning of innovative practices might best proceed in small businesses. The implementation of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) in Australia presented an opportunity for understanding how small business operatives learnt to implement a new practice. The research procedures comprised semi-structured interviews with thirty small businesses that elaborated how they had learnt about and implemented the GST including the kinds of support and activities that had assisted that learning. A case study was written about each small business' experience and these were verified for their accuracy by each small business. These case studies became the key data source. It was found that the small business operatives that appeared to have learnt most about the GST were those who (i) were highly engaged in the task of learning about the GST - active learners and also (ii) accessed high levels of support from localised sources that were able to advise about the scope and goals for the required learning, provide relevant advice, guide and monitor the small businesses' progress with the new initiatives. A matrix comprising dimensions of support needed and engagement by small business operatives is synthesised from the findings and is discussed.
Education and Training
Copyright 2004 Emerald: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the publisher version for access to the definitive, published version.