Small business development and the “learning organisation”

Peter Wyer, Jane Mason, Nicholas Theodorakopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The paper proffers a tentative conceptualisation of the “small business strategic learning process”, demonstrating the complexity of the small firm learning and management task. The framework, built upon personal construct theory and learning theories, is elaborated through the grounding of relevant areas of the strategic management literature in an understanding of the distinctive managerial and behavioural features of the small business. The framework is then utilised to underpin consideration of the concepts of “organisational learning” and the “learning organisation” within a small firm developmental context. It is suggested that whilst organisational learning may be a key and effective small business management approach to underpin sustainable development, the learning organisation, as currently conceived in the mainstream literature, fails to recognise and address the idiosyncrasies, problems and constraints relating to sustainable small business development. There does appear, however, to be great potential for extending understanding of the learning organisation concept into the small business context. An indicative research agenda is suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-259
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • organizational learning
  • strategic management
  • small firms
  • learning organizations


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