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Competence Development for Growth: International Outlook and Analysis
Jönköping University.
2007 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The focus of this report is on the growing importance of skills upgrading in SMEs, coupled with the search for a comprehensive policy approach to meet the new needs and opportunities in this area. Emphasis is placed on the diversity of SMEs, ranging from the vast community of relatively stable and mature firms to the more limited group of high-tech and/or potentially fast-growing categories of firms which we may know as gazelles or similar names. The report argues that it is time to apply a specific double-edged approach to strengthen these firms’ competencies and the preconditions for regional and societal growth in increasingly knowledge-based societies.

SMEs are more vulnerable than large firms; they invest less in R&D and their processes for skills upgrading are often problematic. Public funding is commonly provided to educational or public research institutions, earmarked for promoting courses adapted to the needs, for instance, of traditional or “blue-collar” sectors. There is an inadequate interface between traditional educational institutions and the specific knowledge and competency needs of SMEs and entrepreneurs. This situation, which is due to fundamental incentive problems, leads to frustrating outcomes. The report highlights the presence of: partly contradictory interests between owners/managers and workers; lack of information, skills and/or time at management level; and differences in bridging the highly specialised demands for skills development at business level and the more general supply of skills by education providers such as universities.

Against this backdrop, the report examines a new way forward – an approach that aims to address the upgrading of core skills at SMEs and to increase the supply of adequate external, professional services while also trying to augment potential positive synergies between these two levels. Examining the policies pursued by a set of selected countries, however, permits identification of only a few serious attempts to foster a coherent approach to encompass direct training of SMEs and measures to bolster complementary service providers. Most programmes remain piecemeal and have various limitations. Weaknesses commonly relate to the dominant influence of supply-side perspectives in training programmes. There is also generally a lack of effective identification of and adaptation to SME needs. Still, the report identifies a few cases of clear-cut synergies between measures at the two levels, notably in Belgium and Ireland.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Malmö: IKED , 2007. , 108 p.
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-5865OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-5865DiVA: diva2:36685
Available from: 2008-06-18 Created: 2008-06-18Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
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Output format
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  • asciidoc
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