Title: The intellectual capital of graduates in relation to SMEs

Authors: Roy McLarty

Addresses: School of Management, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK

Abstract: This paper commences with an examination of SME research, traces how it has progressed to focus on the skills demands of SME managers and then evaluates graduates, recruited by a sample of firms in East Anglia, in respect of the skills they provided. Derived from a framework of knowledge associated with skills and competencies, the paper examines the linkages between graduates and small/medium enterprises. It attempts this by identifying skills, developed from a range of sources and then classifies them into two categories – personal and business. The lack of consensual paradigms in relation to skills is discussed and evaluated in respect of published literature. An emerging focus suggests that graduate recruitment can aid performance and increase impact in respect of SME strategic development. As a means of evaluation the Value Chain has been adopted. Porters two integral components – primary and secondary activities – are decomposed and each element evaluated in respect of graduates employed by SMEs. A critical distinction is made between average responses from firms employing graduates compared with firms not employing graduates. Interpretation reveals that graduates make a significant impact on SMEs. In conclusion, the paper attempts to delineate appropriate elements for an SME Value Chain, since the findings reveal that Porter|s Value Chain is appropriate when applied to small and medium sized organisations.

Keywords: SMEs; skills; attributes; competencies; value chain; graduates; managers; small and medium-sized enterprises.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBPM.1999.004471

International Journal of Business Performance Management, 1999 Vol.1 No.4, pp.403 - 416

Published online: 01 May 2004 *

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