Training in Thai SMEs

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Thassanabanjong, Kittiya
Miller, Peter
Marchant, Teresa
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2009
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Abstract

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to profile Thai small-medium enterprises (SMEs) and fill a research gap about their investment in training and approaches to training. Design/method/approach - The paper uses a quantitative, descriptive design with a drop-off survey among 438 SMEs in Thailand. Findings - The study reveals a relatively young, highly-educated cohort of SME owner/managers, with greater business longevity than other countries. They do not invest a great deal of time or money in training and prefer informal, unstructured on-the-job (OTJ) training. Most SMEs train a few or none of their members for two hours a week and thus are "low" or "tactical" trainers. However there are some "strategic" trainers particularly in contemporary industries such as IT and services as well as larger and higher-earning SMEs. Research limitations - The study focuses on urban Thai SMEs and thus may not represent rural or regional areas, or SMEs in other countries. The quantitative approach does not explain why investment in training was relatively low. Originality/value - This is the first systematic study, to the best of the authors' knowledge, dealing with training in Thai SMEs. This paper encourages debate on the presumed universality of training and argues that academics need to "go back to basics" to understand training in family run SMEs, particularly in developing nations such as Thailand, and to recognise the utility of OTJ training in this context.

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Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

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16

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4

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© 2009 Emerald. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.

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Human Resources Management

Business and Management

Marketing

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