Creating a learning organisation within the family business: an Irish perspective

Naomi Birdthistle (Department of Management and Marketing, Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland)
Patricia Fleming (Department of Management and Marketing, Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland)

Journal of European Industrial Training

ISSN: 0309-0590

Publication date: 1 December 2005

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how a learning organisation can be created within the framework of the family SME in Ireland.

Design/methodology/approach

No comprehensive list of independent family businesses in Ireland was available. To overcome this problem a pragmatic approach was taken in the construction of a sampling frame for this research. Primary data from a stratified random sample of independent unquoted businesses were collected. Data were collected from 121 family SMEs using a postal questionnaire.

Findings

The results indicate that micro, small and medium‐sized family firms display some of the characteristics of a learning organisation, but not all of them. Therefore, with strategic review, systems development and cultural change within family SMEs in Ireland, they have the potential to be learning organisations.

Research limitations/implications

This study used a single‐respondent, self‐administered questionnaire. Future research should incorporate analysing other members of the family business – family and non‐family members – so as to get a “wider” understanding of the family SME.

Practical implications

A major contribution of this research is the identification of an existing and suitable theoretical background that can be applied to the study of the family SME, thereby providing a frame‐of‐reference for the analysis of family SMEs as learning organisations.

Originality/value

This paper presents original findings in a highly relevant, but under‐researched field – the family SME as a learning organisation.

Keywords

Citation

Birdthistle, N. and Fleming, P. (2005), "Creating a learning organisation within the family business: an Irish perspective", Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 29 No. 9, pp. 730-750. https://doi.org/10.1108/03090590510629858

Download as .RIS

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.