Mwamba T Godfrey


Generally, in most African countries SMEs are characterized by low technology levels, which are likely to as a hindrance in the emerging global market. Therefore, there is a need for SMEs to upgrade their technology in the process of producing goods and effectively compete in the emerging global market. SMEs will not be able to upgrade their technology and compete effectively in the emerging global market, without removing some specific barriers from the learning environment in which the employees will be learning how to use the new technology. This paper critically reviews the literature on common characteristics of manufacturing SMEs and barriers to the transfer of technology and learning in order to identify the challenges faced by SMEs after acquisition of new technology. This study has adapted a tested model from the researcher’s previous work on developing a learning environment among semi-skilled workers. A PhD. Thesis submitted to the University of Delhi (2005). The purpose of this paper is to provide a framework that will enable SMEs owners/managers and HR consultants to conduct a proper learning needs analysis, identify challenges that are likely to act as barriers to the transfer of technology and learning process among employees in SMEs on one hand and on the other, provide effective ways of removing barriers so that employees may be able to learn how to use new technology effectively and enable SMEs to compete in the emerging global market. On the basis of critical review of previous research work, the findings of the present study suggests that training is the main determinant of transfer of technology, in the process of technology transfer, the emphasis is on the acquisition of knowledge. Some challenges (lack of time and money, high turnover of staff; negative attitudes towards external intervention; negative attitudes of SMEs managers and owners towards learning and informal learning is more common and preferred in SMEs) that are likely to as barriers to the transfer of technology and learning process among employees and managers/owners in SMEs originating from cultural aspects of the learning environment in the organizations. The best ways to remove barriers include: design training programs based on properly identified learning needs to change the attitudes of managers/owners regarding education and training and to acquire management skills that will enable them to effectively formulate and implement technology transfer strategy effectively.

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