The owner-manager’s role as a facilitator of informal learning in small businesses
Human Resource Development International
Taylor and Francis
School of Business and Law
Few studies have examined the owner-manager as a facilitator of learning in small businesses. Furthermore, these studies are typically not framed by distinctive characteristics of small businesses. These limitations of the literature stimulated us to ask: How do the situational opportunities and constraints that emanate from the distinctive characteristics of small businesses affect the small business owner-manager’s role as a facilitator of learning? To address this question, we first conducted a narrative review of existing research on the owner-manager as facilitator of learning in small businesses (10–49 employees). Four themes emerged from our analysis of research findings, including a theme that owner-managers are seldom directly involved in facilitating employees’ learning. Next, we conducted an integrative review of literatures that discuss (a) indirect approaches managers can adopt to facilitate learning; and (b) small business characteristics. We focussed on four high-impact indirect approaches owner-managers can use and examined how employment of each approach might be enabled or constrained by distinctive characteristics of small businesses. The integrative review generated ten research propositions. We also synthesized a conceptual framework that illustrates the main variables to be studied and presumed relationships among them. Based on our analysis of literature, implications for policy and practice are proposed.