Learning to become an academic in an SME

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Purpose: This paper aims to explore how an academic graduate from the cross field between the humanities and the social sciences and blue-collar workers learns to scaffold knowing in a small- to medium-sized enterprise (SME). Design/methodology/approach: A case study was conducted in an SME that employed the first academic graduate among the company’s blue-collar workers. The paper applies a practice-oriented theoretical framework to study scaffolding knowing among the workers. Findings: An academic graduate does not necessarily apply subject-specific knowledge from his or her university education in the SME practice. Rather, general academic knowing and academic work practice is applied when scaffolding knowing in the SME. Further, this depends not only on the knowing of the academic graduate but also on his/her ability to apply knowing and the willingness to change in practice. Research limitations/implications: The study is a single case study gaining in-depth insights into one particular case. This calls for more research. Practical implications: The study points at the importance for managers and academic graduates in SMEs to foster learning activities and to be aware of and develop ways to integrate the general academic knowing. Originality/value: The case study provides new insights into the concept of scaffolding knowing in practice theory. Further, it gains unique insights into the practical possibility of employing graduates from higher education in SMEs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Workplace Learning
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)31-41
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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