Power, politics & learning: A social enactment of the SME owner/manager

David Higgins, Mohammed Mirza, Anna Drozynska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The article aims to explore critically and contribute to the development of the social learning debate by providing a conceptual analysis of the influential and meditational role played by power and politics in the small and medium-sized enterprise (referred to hereafter as SME) owner/manager's practice. One of the key influencing elements in the SME on the learning process is that of the owner/manager, having both the power and legitimacy to influence practice. Design/methodology/approach: The article adopts a social constructionist perspective, which enables and recognises a participatory view of the world. Such a perspective enables one to draw attention to the situated, mediate and local nature of practice and learning. Findings: The article's perspective is connected to the belief that learning stems from the participation of individuals in complex social activities, by recognising that power relations can directly mediate the interpretative ideologies within social interactions. Practical implications: The article seeks to draw attention to the social conflicts that are experienced by SME owner/managers. The issue of power and politics has not featured strongly in current debates surrounding learning and the SME owner/manager; current writings have tended not to explore the relevance of these issues. Originality/value: The article builds on and seeks to extend the recent writings surrounding learning and the SME owner/manager, the emphasis of which is social dynamic and emergent nature, by drawing on the mediated nature of social practice, revealing the influence of both power relations and politics that underpin learning in the social context of the SME owner/manager.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-483
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Small Business and Enterprise Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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