Methodology

To date, according to Hodgson et al. (2002) most research in the emerging field of networked management learning has been US-based and the dominant research approach has been quasi-experimental. Hodgson et al. (2002) provide an account of some of the more recent constructionist and ethnographic studies, which have been carried out to understand more about online collaboration and group working. We were keen to use something similar, but were faced with the challenge of there not being an active online discussion area for the ESeN project that we could scrutinize. Instead, the steering group meetings and collaborative activities conducted outside of these seemed the best opportunity for us to consider the partner collaborations. As project researchers, we had access to the three steering group meetings conducted to date. The decision was taken to use these to conduct participant observation. The approach adopted was that of complete participation, as described by Gold (1958), accepting that the researcher must be reflexive and acknowledging that their own bias will underpin how they make sense of what they observe (Gill and Johnson, 1991). We believed the inclusion of such a participative method was appropriate for striving to understand learning in the social world, as Symons and Cassell (1998) have described.

Figure 1 Learning interactions for SME leaders within ESeN

Figure 1 Learning interactions for SME leaders within ESeN

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