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Title: The paradox of training in the small business sector : owner/managers' attitudes to, and actual provision of, training in the West Midlands region, 1993-1996
Author: Matlay, Harry
ISNI:       0000 0001 3621 2759
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1996
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This thesis examines the training and human resource development strategies of small business owner/managers. Its premise is that although most small business owner/managers claim to have a positive attitude to training, its actual provision fails significantly to keep pace with their perceived skill needs. The existence and magnitude of the ‘training paradox’ was explored in a telephone survey focused upon 2000 randomly chosen respondents from the West Midland region of Great Britain. The underlying causes of this paradox were identified and analysed in a longitudinal survey which involved in-depth, face-to-face interviews, carried out with a sub-sample of 246 owner/managers Furthermore, a wide range of complementary data obtained from 74 ‘matched’ case studies was used to test the cumulative results obtained from both the telephone interviews and the longitudinal survey. A number of important training-related findings emerged from this research study. Firstly, small business owner/managers’ attitudes to training remained remarkably stable throughout the length of the research The most important factor to affect owner/managers' attitudes to training was the quality of their ‘incubator’ experiences in this field Attitudes to training also determined, to a large extent, the recruitment preferences of these respondents. Secondly, according to these owner/managers, the actual provision of training in their firms was determined by a combination of ‘directly’ and ‘indirectly relevant’ factors. In the ‘directly relevant’ category, owner/managers included the market positioning of a firm, prevailing economic conditions and the availability of relevant training The ‘indirectly relevant’ category involved factors of secondary importance, such as the cost of training, time constraints, lack of in-house trainers and difficulties relating to trainee cover, motivation and interest. It became obvious, from the results of this research study, that the recent policy efforts aimed at the small business sector have failed to make a significant impact upon these owner/managers’ training and human resource development strategies. This thesis concludes by recommending that the overall availability, both in terms of quantity and quality, of vocational education and training should be improved to at least the level provided by Britain’s main competitors. Furthermore, the training industry, itself dominated by the self-employed, micro- and very small firms, should be targeted for selective financial assistance in order to subsidise a range of economically priced and customised training, narrowly focused upon the diverse needs of small businesses.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD Industries. Land use. Labor ; HF Commerce