Toward critical intervention in small and medium-sized enterprises: a case study
Systems Practice and Action Research, 16, (3), . (doi:10.1023/A:1023859805741).
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The mainstream systems literature has so far paid little systematic attention to the small business arena, despite this being potentially a very significant sector for the systems community, given its importance in the UK economy. Small, growing enterprises experience particular managerial problems. This paper provides an example of the practical benefits of a systems approach in a small company experiencing growth. It examines the process of an intervention which took place over a 2-year period in a small manufacturing company as part of the UK government's Teaching Company Scheme. An attempt to extend critical systems thinking into the small company environment is discussed, identifying the challenges and opportunities presented by the setting to researchers. The paper draws on Habermas' theory of communicative action to explore the extent to which the intervention was inclusive and critically reflective. Strategies adopted to support inclusive practice are explored and general lessons are drawn out.
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