Faculty of Business and Law
School of Management / Small and Medium Enterprise Research Centre
Employees in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) form part of a 'disadvantaged' group within the workforce that receives less access to training and development (T & D) than employees in large firms. Prior research into reasons for the relatively low levels of employee participation in training and development has typically involved surveys of owner/manager opinions. A novel and potentially more fruitful line of inquiry is investigating decisions managers have actually made regarding employee access to T & D. Building on this idea, we describe how the critical incident technique (CIT) was applied in our exploratory study of managerial decision making regarding employee access to training and development in medium-sized enterprises. We also discuss lessons learned in conducting the study. These lessons are based on an analysis of our experiences of using the CIT and are potentially important for researchers who will be using the technique to study similar topics in the years ahead.