University of Limerick
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Management development: an exploratory study of its role in the owner/managed firm

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posted on 2022-09-20, 11:00 authored by Briga HynesBriga Hynes
This thesis is primarily an exploratory study undertaken to evaluate the role and application of management development in the context of the small firm and its contribution to the improved performance and success of the firm. The study is set in the context of an industrial environment which is actively involved in encouraging the development of small firms, as an important contributing factor to the economic climate and for the creation of employment. Literature is reviewed which provides an understanding of the motivations of individuals to start in business, and the associated stages of development. It specifically highlights the low level of involvement of owner/managers in development programmes and addresses this issue. This examines the impact of influencing factors such as the personal objectives of the manager, their behaviour, management style etc. have on the level of part participation in management development programmes. The case study method is used to obtain greater detail and knowledge of the subject in the context of the small firm. The empirical data ezamined the level of participation of four owner/managers in the various programmes. The evidence from analysis of the case studies suggests that managers who participate in management development programmes in the early stages of the company life cycle perform better, in the areas of decision making, planning and, the other general management functions. A number of variables contributed to individuals participating in programmes, these included push factors such as forced by bank manager, project officer, or needed some assistance to rectify escalating problems in the firm. Pull factors also influenced decisions, i.e. where the owner/manager themselves recognised their own management inadequacies and decided to participate on management development programmes. The most preferred type of programme is one which is based on a flexible distance learning basis, where managers can learn at their convenience and not interfere with their work schedule. An interactive non-academic approach was preferred, where negotiating, videos, case studies etc are used to develop the participants. Discussions with the supply side indicated the difficulties of attracting participants on the programmes and the problems of pricing these courses to suit the limited resources of the small firm. The research concludes by providing a model outline to assist in programme design and the development of a hypothesis which will be used for the basis of further longitudinal research.



  • Master (Research)

First supervisor

Garavan, Thomas N.





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