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Universities, SMEs and social capital: can you get too much of a good thing? an illustrative analysis of one university’s knowledge exchange programme

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/12/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Industry and Higher Education
Issue number6
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)382-393
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date22/09/16
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article explores a university knowledge exchange programme for small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owner/managers.
Specifically, it considers why a programme designed to achieve growth in a group of SMEs through the creation of a network high in social capital may have become a constraint on the programme’s effectiveness over a period of 5 years. The article presents findings from ethnographic observation and interviews with eight participants. The main findings suggest that university facilitators should guard against becoming part of a strong tie network of delegates, which in this case may have resulted in a reduction in their ability to bridge to other groups and networks. In addition, without the periodical introduction of new activities, there is the danger that the group will become stale.