Can the Small Business Institute's Field Based Consulting Enhance Knowledge Retention and Acquisition

David L. Hoffman, David Bechtold


Numerous entities such as parents, students, legislators, and the public are criticizing higher education including business schools for costs, lack of transparency, and relevance to the real world. Several studies have found declines in student performance and the lack of improvement in critical thinking and analytical skills. The deepest question is – are pedagogical methods leading to long term retention and use by graduates? Traditional education provides explicit knowledge via lectures and textbooks.  Tacit knowledge is acquired with direct experience, observation, and reflection. Research on knowledge acquisition and retention shows that several steps must be taken to move neurological impulses into long term memory. The authors argue that more teaching emphasizing tacit knowledge such as the SBI’s field based consulting should be utilized.  The authors review the history of the SBI program and argue that field based consulting has more potential to tap into long term member, be retained, and used throughout an alumni’s business career. Questions for future research are included.


knowledge retention; field based consulting; knowledge retention

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