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An Analysis of the Learning Relationships Amongst Owner/Managers in a Micro-Firm Learning Network – The RIKON Group

An Analysis of the Learning Relationships Amongst Owner/Managers in a Micro-Firm Learning Network – The RIKON Group

Reinl, Leana and Kelliher, Felicity (2008) An Analysis of the Learning Relationships Amongst Owner/Managers in a Micro-Firm Learning Network - The RIKON Group. In: IAM Conference, September 2008, Dublin.

Learning networks are clearly cited in contemporary literature as a key means for creating and sustaining competitive advantage in micro-firms. Specifically, national and international research studies acknowledge the importance of micro-firm network-centred learning in the tourism sector, where an integral part of this learning process is the network of relationships participants cultivate through involvement in formal learning programmes of this nature. Despite their importance in the context of small business development, networks have traditionally been relatively neglected as an area of academic study. The paper commences with a comprehensive review of relevant literature while the primary research focuses on the South and South East Tourism Learning Network (TLN) initiative, facilitated by Fáilte Ireland and Waterford Institute of Technology. Each author is directly involved in the TLN programme as research assistant and academic liaison and pursued an optimum research approach in this regard. Adopting an action research methodology, the authors seek to establish, catalogue and analyse the learning relationships amongst owner/managers within a micro-firm learning network. The authors go on to propose a framework of participant learning in a micro-firm network environment, and offer avenues for further research.