The social dynamics of micro-firm learning in an evolving learning community

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Micro-firms dominate the tourism sector internationally, yet there is a notable absence of studies specifically relating to their learning interactions with other tourism firms. Even when studied, a social learning lens is rarely applied in either micro-firm or tourism learning network research despite its relevance in this domain. In seeking to understand and map the social dynamics of micro-firm learning and participation in an independent learning network, the authors studied an evolving learning community (ELC) situated in Ireland's south west region over a four-year period. The findings demonstrate the complexity associated with creating and sustaining a social learning infrastructure in this context. An ELC model is proffered to provide insight into inter and intra social dynamics that influence learning development in the micro-firm setting. The proposed future research includes the study of additional ELCs, in Ireland and other countries, for the purposes of cross case/cross country comparison, and in pursuit of greater insight into the social dynamics of these communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-125
Number of pages9
JournalTourism Management
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • Learning communities
  • Micro-firm
  • Social learning
  • Tourism


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