Student Knowledge Acquisition and Small Business Consulting

Michele O'Dwyer, Naomi Birdthistle, Briga Hynes, Yvonne Costin

Abstract


The acquisition of explicit and tacit knowledge by students participating in the Small Business Consulting module at the University of Limerick presents a challenge to its entrepreneurship educators. Utilising a case study approach, knowledge transfer within the Small Business Consulting module at the University of Limerick is explored using in depth interviews with the teaching team and ten graduates (with equal gender balance) to explore attitudes and opinions towards the transfer of explicit and tacit knowledge. The empirical evidence demonstrates student satisfaction with the transfer of explicit knowledge and, more significantly, tacit knowledge, which is reflected in improved student performance. In addition the University of Limerick benefits from the positive associations of having a successful outreach programme, and academic staff retain currency of consultancy skills while gaining access to case material and research subjects. Future research will use quantitative research methodologies in a longitudinal study of two groups of University of Limerick graduates; first, those who have participated in the Small Business Consulting module and second those who have not. This use of a control group will more clearly enable the research team to explore the value of the module in knowledge transfer.

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 Metropolitan State University of Denver