Reid, Iain (2009) A framework for creating organisational learning within project-based SMEs. In: 32nd Institute for Small Business & Entrepreneurship Conference, 1st - 3rd November 2009, Liverpool, UK. (Unpublished)

It is argued that organisation learning has become an important management strategy (Beer, 2005). However, the majority of small business organisations do not have tools and techniques to implement such a strategy. This is also more complicated as a majority of Small Medium Enterprise (SME) manufactures produce bespoke products. Prior studies on the new product development (NPD) problems have delivered various models of the NPD process and a variety of supporting methods, tools and techniques in a generic context. A more realistic scenario however, is to consider the needs of project-based SMEs. One of the main problems associated with such organizations, sometimes essentially “one-off” projects. A successful project depends on a wide variety of tools and resources. However, there are uncertainties or vulnerabilities can affect the project’s performance or social capital of the project’s success. The purpose of this paper is to ask the question; how can small businesses learn from past experiences? This paper presents the findings of number of project-driven SMEs and investigates the NPD process in terms of organisation learning via project-based learning approach and the opportunities of learning and knowledge sharing from past experiences. This paper will also discuss four longitudinal case studies demonstrating the technique in practice. The case studies highlight how process reliability has benefited these companies’ learning experiences, project management, and future growth.

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