Balancing European SME Managers’ Training Contents: Perceived Importance & Training Needs


  • Leonel Morgado Universidade Aberta, Portugal
  • João Varajão Centro ALGORITMI/University of Minho, Portugal
  • Caroline Dominguez University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal
  • Irene Oliveira University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal
  • Fernanda Sousa Universidade do Porto, Portugal


SME, managers, business, competences, curriculum development, exploratory multivariate techniques


Background: Given the limited available time of in-service professionals, the balance between the perceived importance of the course content and training needs is essential for the acceptance and attractiveness of training courses aimed at them. Objectives: The goal of the paper is to contribute to the development of entrepreneurship and business training programs for European SME managers. Methods/Approach: In six European countries a survey focusing on SME managers’ views on the importance of individual items from a list of potential course content items, and their training needs was carried out, and followed by an analysis using exploratory and multivariate techniques. It was aimed at identifying homogeneous groups of managers with common training needs and perceptions of content importance. Results: Homogeneous groups of managers who assign the same importance to certain competences and who have common training needs are identified. Conclusions: Results of our research could help training institutions to develop courses aimed at SME managers. The balancing approach proved to be an interesting method of combining conflicting requirements for the training course curriculum development.

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