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

Service Learning as an Approach to Teaching Small Business Management

Thomas Behrends (Europa-University Flensburg, Germany)
Larissa Binder (Europa-University Flensburg, Germany)

International Case Studies in Service Learning

ISBN: 978-1-80071-193-8, eISBN: 978-1-80071-192-1

Publication date: 16 November 2022


Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are a central backbone of (most) national economies. Research shows, that due to their smaller size, SMEs not only have comparatively less formalized, less complex, and less specialized organizational structures, but a somewhat different social character as well. It is in particular the interplay of these structural and cultural peculiarities of SMEs that is difficult to impart perceptibly in regular university courses on Small Business Management.

From a managerial science perspective, the structural as well as social characteristics of small non-profit organizations are quite similar to the above-mentioned features of SMEs. Both types of organizations usually function in a less bureaucratic and more personal way, while also being a bit more chaotic sometimes. In addition, both are often facing the challenges of severe resource scarcity as well as a lack of management competencies.

In view of these fundamental similarities between SMEs and small non-profit organizations, the practical seminar Service Learning Project was designed to provide management students at Europa-Universität Flensburg with the opportunity of experiencing typical small business work realities. Here, student teams support local non-profit organizations in meeting typical management challenges ranging from the conception and implementation of fundraising or image campaigns to internal consultancy projects. In this way, the seminar offers the possibility to deal with real-world practical management issues while concurrently strengthening students’ civic societal awareness, fostering empathy, and overcoming the oftentimes overly pronounced distance between science and life-world practice.



Behrends, T. and Binder, L. (2022), "Service Learning as an Approach to Teaching Small Business Management", Sengupta, E. and Blessinger, P. (Ed.) International Case Studies in Service Learning (Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning, Vol. 47), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 99-115.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023 Emerald Publishing Limited