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Publication date: 7 February 2019

Stanzin Mantok, Harjit Sekhon, Gurjeet Kaur Sahi and Paul Jones

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…




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.


Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 26 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004


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