Entrepreneurial learning requires action on the meaning generated

Tove Brink, Svend Ole Madsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to reveal how managers of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can utilise their participation in research-based training to enable innovation and growth. Design/methodology/approach – Action research and action learning from a longitudinal study of ten SME managers in the wind turbine industry are applied to reveal SME managers’ learning and the impact of the application of learning in the wind turbine industry. Findings – The findings of this study show that SME managers employ a practice-shaped, holistic, cross-disciplinary approach to learning. This learning approach is supported by theory dissemination and collaboration on perceived business challenges. Open-mindedness to new learning by SME managers and to cross-disciplinary collaboration with SME managers by university facilitators/researchers is required. Research limitations/implications – The research is conducted within the wind turbine industry, in which intense demands for innovation are pursued. The findings require verification in other industry contexts. Practical implications – This research contributes strategies for SME managers to utilise research-based training and for universities regarding how to work with SME training. In addition, public bodies can enhance their understanding of SMEs for innovation and growth. The learning approach that is suitable for specialisation in larger organisations is not suitable in the SME context. Social implications – SME learning is enhanced by a social approach to integrating essential large-scale industry players and other SME managers to create extended action and value from learning. Originality/value – The findings reveal the need for extended theory development for and a markedly different approach to SME training from that used for training managers in larger companies. This topic has received only limited attention in previous research.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)650-672
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015


  • Business development
  • Entrepreneurial education
  • Growth
  • Innovation
  • Learning
  • Small firms

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Entrepreneurial learning requires action on the meaning generated'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Blue SDU seminar

    Tove Brink (Participant)

    9. Jan 201710. Jan 2017

    Activity: Attending an eventOrganisation or participation in workshops, courses or seminars

Cite this