Innovation and peer-to-peer learning in a small business network in South Africa

Innovation and peer-to-peer learning in a small business network in South Africa
Document type
Conference Paper
Author(s)
Tsekouras, George; Kanellou, Despina
Publisher
British Academy of Management
Date of publication
9 September 2014
Series
British Academy of Management Conference Proceedings 2014
Subject(s)
Trends: economic, social and technology trends affecting business
Collection
Business and management
Material type
Reports

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[Authors' original abstract]

In 2007 the University of Brighton, UK and the University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa collaboratively established five Profitnet learning network groups of SME owners and managers in the city of Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. These groups met for three hours, once a month, and followed a specific agenda including a business plan presentation, action learning and a creativity workshop by an external speaker. In July 2008, after seven months of group operation, semi structured interviews were conducted with a cross section of participants. Data from these interviews is analysed using Kolb’s learning style inventory to consider the variables that affect individual learning within groups.

Each of the sections of the Profitnet meeting appear to have different strengths in facilitating learning. Overall, the blended learning approach of the Profitnet meeting produces consistent learning across very different sector specific groups.

Variables such as gender, firm size and degree of innovation seem to have more of an effect on the learning emerging from action learning as opposed to creativity workshops.

Our conclusion is that group facilitators need to recognise the effect that different variables will have on the learning experience of Profitnet members.

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