To read this content please select one of the options below:

How can very small SMEs make the time for training and development: skill charting as an example of taking a scenistic approach

Paul Lyons (Professor of Management at Frostburg State University, Frostburg, Maryland, USA)
Marty Mattare (Assistant Professor at Frostburg State University, Frostburg, Maryland, USA)

Development and Learning in Organizations

ISSN: 1477-7282

Article publication date: 28 June 2011




The purpose of this paper is to make clear some of the issues and problems that confront the small to medium‐sized enterprise (SME) when it comes to the training and development of employees. The paper aims to present a training methodology specifically for the small business.


The scenistic method, which involves trainees directly in the creation of strategies to improve performance in some domain, has been introduced in prior literature, and is proposed as particularly appropriate for the small business environment.


Very small enterprises provide workplace training in a significantly different manner than do larger organizations. Usually, the owner‐manager conducts whatever training there is and the training provided addresses only what is needed at the moment rather than be part of an overall training strategy. Workplace training correlates with employee satisfaction and lower turnover. However, often the very small enterprise does not have the resources to provide such a training program. This paper proposes an on‐the‐job training model for very small organizations.

Practical Implications

The scenistic method provides an inexpensive training opportunity that is tailored to specific needs. It may be conducted on site. It is flexible. Both the owner/manager and the employees play key roles in the training experience. It is experiential and hands on. And, it provides a model that is adaptable across several skill needs.


This paper introduces a training method to SMEs that can be easily adopted and used. Training and development of employees matters. Studies show that competitive advantage is compromised if employees are not adequately trained. Competition is demanding enough but when employees of the SME are less well equipped per knowledge and skills than their counterparts in larger businesses, the small firm is likely further disadvantaged. A trained, knowledgeable employee adds value to the firm and helps the firm to be more competitive. The scenistic method will allow the very small SME to effectively address these critical issues.



Lyons, P. and Mattare, M. (2011), "How can very small SMEs make the time for training and development: skill charting as an example of taking a scenistic approach", Development and Learning in Organizations, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 15-19.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles