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Entrepreneurial orientation and the mediating role of organisational learning amongst Indian S-SMEs

Stanzin Mantok (PG Department of Commerce, University of Jammu, Jammu, India)
Harjit Sekhon (Coventry University, Coventry, UK)
Gurjeet Kaur Sahi (Department of Commerce, University of Jammu, Jammu, India)
Paul Jones (School of Management, Swansea University, Swansea, UK)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 7 February 2019

Issue publication date: 25 October 2019




The purpose of this paper is to examine organisational learning as a mediator among small-scale manufacturing enterprises (S-SMEs) which comprise the majority of economic activity in an emergent/developing economy. This study offers further understanding regarding the mediating role of organisational learning in developing world economies, due to its potential regional influence.


A cross-sectional survey of Indian S-SMEs was undertaken from the District Industrial Center. The study employed a systematic sampling technique to contact owner/managers. Overall, 204 S-SMEs owners/managers participated in the study and 192 usable survey instruments were received.


The study offers novel insights to the following questions. First, the factors that prompt entrepreneurial orientation to achieve superior business performance, i.e. the antecedents of entrepreneurial orientation? The results reveal competitor orientation is an antecedent of entrepreneurial orientation that leads to an S-SME’s business performance. Second, the outcomes of entrepreneurial orientation, i.e. the consequences of entrepreneurial orientation? The study reveals organisational learning and business performance are the corollary of entrepreneurial orientation. Third, the examination of whether organisational learning mediates the relationship between entrepreneurial orientation and business performance? The findings found the effects of entrepreneurial orientation on business performance are, in part, mediated by organisational learning.

Research limitations/implications

Three study limitations are recognised. First, other strategic orientations, including technology orientation, production orientation and selling orientation are not included. Second, other constructs have a potentially significant relationship with market and entrepreneurial orientation, such as organisational capabilities, innovation and social context, were not considered. Third, the study is industry-sector specific and does not consider alternative sectors which also may play a potential role in economic development.


This study enhances the existing S-SME literature by identifying factors contributing to entrepreneurial orientation and its repercussions on business performance. For S-SMEs it adds credence to the role played by organisational learning in mediating the link between entrepreneurial orientation and business performance which potentially encourages owner/managers to dedicate increased time and resources towards creating and maintaining a conducive learning environment. The results support entrepreneurs in acknowledging the importance of competitor orientation during the emergence and development of entrepreneurial orientation, specifically in emerging economy contexts.



Mantok, S., Sekhon, H., Sahi, G.K. and Jones, P. (2019), "Entrepreneurial orientation and the mediating role of organisational learning amongst Indian S-SMEs", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 26 No. 5, pp. 641-660.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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