NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: EJ933138
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 16
ISSN: ISSN-1477-9714
Learning Cultures in Small to Medium-Size Enterprises and Their Role in Supporting the Learning Region
Fitzpatrick, Maeve; O'Connell, Janice; Murphy, Eamonn
Journal of Adult and Continuing Education, v16 n1 p96-106 Spr 2010
The role of work-based learning is a pivotal part of developing the learning region. With rates of employment at their highest for many years across Europe, the need for up-skilling the workforce in many areas will be essential to retain competitiveness and employability. This paper will focus on quality management up-skilling in small to medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in five European countries. Recent statistics indicate that the role of quality management has become critical to the SME if they are to survive in the current economic climate. Results have shown time and again that a result of successful application of quality tools in any company is an increase in productivity, profitability, and customer satisfaction. Key to the successful delivery of these quality management systems are the skills and aptitudes of the person responsible for their deployment, the quality manager. However it remains to be determined what makes up the key behaviors and characteristics that indicate an individual is at the level of "expert" practitioner and, if there are differences in opinion, to what extent. Also investigated are attitudes to requisite levels of education attainment for expert denomination and finally, whether the importance of expertise in other domains of practice is comparable between countries participating in the study (Ireland, Spain, Greece, Poland, and Sweden). The method of research chosen was qualitative interviews with senior management in SMEs in 20 companies across five countries. The rationale for the research design, method, and dissemination are discussed and an inventory of the characteristics deemed to qualify the practitioner as expert was then taken from the results. This was then compared across the participating countries. The paper concludes with recommendations for how educational institutions can facilitate full-time employees in achieving and maintaining the status of "domain expert" and also recommends a strategy for future research into the effects of culture on attribution of key behaviors and characteristics on the novice-to-expert trajectory deemed critical to fluid mobility of highly skilled employees, a critical component in support of the learning region. (Contains 1 figure, 1 table, and 3 notes.)
Manchester University Press. Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9NR, UK. Tel: +44-161-275-2310; Fax: +44-161-274-3346; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: European Union; Greece; Ireland; Poland; Spain; Sweden