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Workplace learning and its organizational benefits for small enterprises: Evidence from Greek industrial firms

Antonios Panagiotakopoulos (New York College, Athens, Greece)

The Learning Organization

ISSN: 0969-6474

Article publication date: 19 July 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to explore small firm owners' perceptions of the impact of employee training on small firm competitiveness in the context of Greece.

Design/methodology/approach

The research adopts a qualitative orientation. Empirical data were collected from 43 owners of small and micro‐firms operating in various sectors of the Greek manufacturing industry through personal semi‐structured interviews.

Findings

The empirical evidence reveals that informal staff training can help Greek small firms face the challenges of the future. More specifically, the interview findings indicated that workplace training can: reduce employee errors in the production process; help small firms to meet skill shortage needs; facilitate the introduction of new technology; and enhance worker employability.

Practical implications

The paper argues that a key challenge for policy makers and employers in this area is to facilitate informal learning within small firms in order to improve firm performance. In the same manner, work‐integrated learning (WIL) seems to have a vital role to play in the performance of Greek small enterprises since WIL programs have the potential to address skills mismatch issues.

Originality/value

The study brings new insights around the benefits of informal staff training and work‐integrated learning for small and micro‐firm performance in the context of a small European country like Greece, where there has been scant research and very limited understanding.

Keywords

Citation

Panagiotakopoulos, A. (2011), "Workplace learning and its organizational benefits for small enterprises: Evidence from Greek industrial firms", The Learning Organization, Vol. 18 No. 5, pp. 350-360. https://doi.org/10.1108/09696471111151701

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited