The advantages of digital transformation have allowed many enterprises to flourish, but small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) often lag behind larger firms in developing digital capabilities. Offering management courses and skills training through learning institutions has emerged as a popular initiative to address this capability deficit. However, progress is hindered by the fact that many overlook the social, political, and cultural contexts which impact the transfer of classroom learning about digitalisation into the business.
Two CEES academics, Dr Alex Kevill and Dr Mariana Estrada-Robles, are working as co-investigators in an exciting new research project funded by The British Academy and The Leverhulme Trust to study this issue. Led by Dr Selen Kars-Unluoglu from the University of the West of England, this project aims to investigate the transfer of digital capabilities from the classroom to SMEs.
Over the course of 18 months, this collaborative project will develop a theoretical and methodological approach to understand how SMEs experience digital transformation and how they can adapt individual learning about digitalisation to the organisational level. The project will also investigate the enablers and barriers to this transfer process. The findings will benefit scholars interested in capability development and digital transformation in SMEs, as well as policymakers and institutions. By developing evidence-based capability development schemes, the project aims to improve digital transformation outcomes for SMEs to ensure that they can bridge the gap with larger enterprises.
Alex and Mariana have already collaborated in a data collection workshop for the project in Bristol, and are planning to run other workshops shortly.
Read more about the ‘Mind The Gap’ project here