Global competition gradually affects small companies and service providers and no longer only large corporations. The changes in production, organisation and decision structures pose particular challenges to the Management and staff of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). SMEs are gradually forced to complement their current business activities with long-term investments in know-how. Professional further and management training is a prerequisite to enable today's employees to devise plans autonomously, to comprehend complex systems and networks, and to be able to consider cost-effectiveness and customer focus in their work. SMEs, however, face the problem that training improves individual skills and simultaneously entitles employees to higher salaries. For this reason, improved skills and abilities frequently flow to other companies which are in a position invest more in qualified personnel or to make more attractive offers. This project is embedded in an OECD study which analyses, in an international comparison, the supply of and demand for further and management training for senior managers in SMEs. The German and Finnish studies were conducted at the ZEW. They deal with the markets and the SMEs' participation in further and management training. To this end, we will tabulate the estimated expenses incurred by the state and companies, the number of companies offering courses, the number of participants, the course topics etc. in order to have a general overview. In a next step we will discuss the requirements, success and difficulties of SME managers attending further and management training courses. The projects will tackle the following questions: Which kinds of further and management training courses do institutions offer, to which extent do SMEs make use of educational institutions, and which national evaluations and statistics exist on this topic? The aim of the project is to determine "best practice" in an international comparison.

Project duration

01.03.1999 - 31.12.2001

Project members

Dr. Georg Licht (Coordinator)
Dr. Andreas Fier, MA

Cooperation partner

Merja Salmi, Anna-Maria Hotari, University of Helsinki Vantaa Institute for Continuing Education ICT Learning Centre, Helsinki, FI