Facilitating trust among entrepreneurs' to access tacit knowledge: The SLNIW story

Martina Mullally, Valerie Brett, Bill O'Gorman, James Carr, Nerys Fuller-Love

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The Sustainable Learning Networks in Ireland and Wales (SLNIW) project aims to increase the competitiveness, creativity and innovative capacities and capabilities of micro-enterprises and SMEs in South East Ireland and West Wales by increasing accessibility to local entrepreneurial knowledge via the establishment of self-learning networks. To achieve this end the project created six networks, three in Ireland and three in Wales where explicit and tacit knowledge flows between the participants. The networks consisted of two all male groups, two all female groups and two mixed gender groups. The SLNIW project is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the INTERREG 4A Ireland Wales Programme 2007-2013 and is being undertaken by the Centre for Enterprise Development and Regional Economy (CEDRE) at the School of Business, Waterford Institute of Technology, in partnership with the School of Management and Business, Aberystwyth University in Wales. SLNIW is a longitudinal study spanning two years of engagement with the network participants. The data gathering methods used include observations and questionnaires. This paper outlines the role of SLNIW in facilitating trust among entrepreneurs and the monitoring of initial trustful communication in the learning networks in supporting the development of tacit knowledge flows. The findings of this study suggest that when establishing learning networks trust is a key factor in increasing accessibility to tacit knowledge. Therefore, reinforcing the importance of establishing trust, the consequences of breaking trust and the necessity of trust is very important to increasing accessibility to entrepreneurial tacit knowledge. This paper contributes to the existing body of research on tacit knowledge andhighlights the importance of trust in the knowledge transfer process and how a self-learning network can enable greater accessibility to tacit knowledge. This research has implications for academics, practitioners, entrepreneurs and policy makers who are concerned with the establishment of networks to propagate knowledge and technology transfer.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 12th European Conference on Knowledge Management, ECKM 2011
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Event12th European Conference on Knowledge Management, ECKM 2011 - Passau, Germany
Duration: 01 Sep 201102 Sep 2011

Publication series

NameProceedings of the European Conference on Knowledge Management, ECKM
ISSN (Print)2048-8963
ISSN (Electronic)2048-8971


Conference12th European Conference on Knowledge Management, ECKM 2011


  • Business networks and longitudinal study
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Self-learning networks
  • Tacit knowledge
  • Trust


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