Small business owners: too busy to train?

Elizabeth Walker, Janice Redmond, Beverley Webster, Megan Le Clus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - The reason often cited for the poor relationship between small businesses and their uptake of vocational education and training is that small business owner-managers claim that they are too busy to engage in training or any type of learning activity and that most training is of little value to them. The aim of the research is to examine the relationship between these factors. Design/methodology/approach - Using qualitative research methods the study collected data of the knowledge, attitudes and needs of small business owner-managers, both before and after participation in a training program. Findings - This study has indicated that small business owners are interested in skills development and training opportunities, provided that they are directly applicable to the current situation in their business, and as long as the delivery process is carefully structured in terms of location, time of day, and length of session. Practical implications - The success of a human resource management training program offers both an incentive for other educators to continue to pursue small business participation and useful guidelines for the implementation and the development of new programs for the small business sector. Originality/value - The approach taken in this research has offered important insights into the value of training and how it is evaluated by small business owner-managers. This is important as owner managers are the primary decision makers about whether or not training takes place.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-306
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Small Business and Enterprise Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult education
  • Human resource management
  • Skills
  • Small enterprises
  • Training

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