ERIC Number: ED445853
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000
Reference Count: N/A
Support Networks and Trust: How Social Capital Facilitates Learning Outcomes for Small Businesses.
Kilpatrick, Sue; Bell, Rowena
Executive Link is a group of farm businesses that meet for regular nonformal education and training in several chapters in eastern Australia. Each chapter consists of a number of boards, each made up of around six member farm businesses. The boards provide management advice to their members, who are free to accept or reject that advice. A study of the group revealed generally applicable prerequisites for developing a support capacity: 1) high level of individual members' personal self-confidence and high level of interpersonal communication skills; 2) getting to know each other as individuals, developing shared values and trust; 3) coming to regard each other as credible sources of support and advice; and 4) commitment to the board and fellow members. As they learn together, members generate horizontal social capital that is used as members make changes to their businesses. Executive Link is an example of a learning community that achieves positive economic outcomes because it is adaptable and willing to change. Member businesses are more resilient because the group acts as a support network that assists businesses as they make changes to take advantage of opportunities and minimize threats. Change processes draw on the social capital of the learning community--members are committed to the group, and there is a norm of reciprocity that leads to spontaneous actions for the benefit of others. (TD)
Descriptors: Adoption (Ideas), Adult Farmer Education, Change Agents, Experiential Learning, Farmers, Foreign Countries, Group Dynamics, Informal Education, Management Development, Social Networks, Social Support Groups, Training
Full text at Web site: http://www.crlra.utas.edu.au, click on "Publications," then "CRLRA Discussion Papers," then "2000."
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Tasmania Univ., Launceston (Australia). Center for Research and Learning in Regional Australia.
Identifiers - Location: Australia