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An empirical investigation of employee training and development in Greek manufacturing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

Panagiotakopoulos, Antonios (2009) An empirical investigation of employee training and development in Greek manufacturing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

Skills are increasingly identified by policy makers as a central means to address social and economic challenges at national and supranational levels. The present study looks specifically at the Greek economy and explores the determinants, nature and extent of skills development in Greek manufacturing SMEs, notably in the textile sector. The research involved three main stages. First, interviews were conducted with high-ranked industrial policy makers in Greece to gain an understanding of the key problems facing Greek manufacturing industry, and to identity the policy measures introduced to promote skills upgrading and industrial competitiveness. The policy agenda was then interrogated `in practice', through complimentary survey and case study research of textile SMEs. The study argues that current policy intervention neglects the workplace and production context in which skills are created and mobilised, which acts to impede the policy agenda of a viable skills strategy. The study reveals that a narrow skills supply strategy is adopted by the Greek government and policy action is based on simple targets for the accumulation of human capital. It is strongly believed by decision makers that publicly-funded boosts to stocks of qualifications will push the Greek economy onto a new, higher skilled, higher value added pathway. Yet, the demand for skills, which appears to be the real problem, is not considered. The research shows that the vast majority of textile employers do not demand a highly-skilled workforce and that formal HRD interventions are not their preferred method of skills development. In contrast, informal learning activities seem to serve as the key vehicle to help Greek SMEs meet their skill needs. This suggests a new agenda for policy intervention. What is being contested in the present study is the tendency by Greek policy makers to depict skills as a panacea for a range of social and economic ills. As such, there is an immediate need for a more open debate about what skills can contribute as part of wider strategies to help improve the economic performance of Greece and the competitiveness of SMEs specifically. VET has a role to play, but its nature, scope and relationship with other policies needs a lot more thought. Greek policy makers need to construct a more sophisticated and integrated approach to developing social and economic policies wherein skills play a part rather than carry the entire weight of policy.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Leeds University Business School
Depositing User: Ethos Import
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2011 11:11
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2014 11:13
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1565

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