Aaltonen, S, Avramenko, A, Heinze, A, Ielpa, G, Klosova, A, Papadopoulou, T and de Tommaso, D 2011, Enterprise cultural heritage skill gap - the study of established craft sector firms , in: ISBE 2011 Conference - Sustainable Futures: Enterprising Landscapes and Communities, November 9-10 2011, Sheffield, UK.
Objectives: This paper aims to introduce a novel concept of Enterprise Cultural Heritage (ECH) which combines the company’s own history and creations with the potential to transform information and materials into “extended products & services”. Firstly, the objective is to explore the skills needed in established craft sector Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) to fully exploit the potentials of ECH and thus gain a competitive advantage. Secondly, we’ll investigate the ECH Skills Gap and how it could be closed. Prior Work: The concept of ECH draws insight from a broad range of literature including: Marketing, Product Development & Innovation, Organisational Culture and Knowledge Management. However, to date, this has achieved precious little attention in the academic literature as well as practitioners focused training courses. ECH can be regarded as part of company’s knowledge capital, but as it has been argued the exploitation of knowledge of an organisation, resides not in the knowledge itself, but in the ways that knowledge is used and re-used. Approach: The study is exploratory in nature. It introduces a new concept and reveals its potentials and usage in everyday business. It is based on telephone surveys of established (over 40 years old); craft sector SMEs in five EU countries. Some 370 companies, identified using standard commercial directories, were approached. A total of 77 interviews were completed. Results: The results of the survey reveal that almost half of the companies interviewed were lacking ECH skills. The survey identified particular ECH related subject such as: brand management, heritage management, change management and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) as the most vital for effective ECH management. There was a lack of skills mostly on the areas of ICT/heritage management and marketing among the interviewees. Implications: Both the training and policy implications of the study are discussed, e.g., how to promote more effective usage of ECH in established craft sector SMEs. The study is part of a European project, which explores and establishes the field of Enterprise Cultural Heritage (ECH). Practical implications include training material development to better enable SMEs in exploiting their ECH and improving the quality of vocational education and training practices. Value: The ECH concept is important as it is relevant to large number of SMEs, especially to older craft sector companies. Sustainability, authenticity, innovativeness and traditions are highly valued among many consumers worldwide.
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