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The Role of University-Level Business Education in Overcoming the Challenges of SMEManagers in Serbia

Maja Kocevar and Dietmar Horst Sternad
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Maja Kocevar: Carinthia University of Applied Sciences, Austria
Dietmar Horst Sternad: Carinthia University of Applied Sciences, Austria

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Abstract: In an exploratory study, we conducted in-depth interviews with Serbian managers of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to identify the main challenges that they have been facing in their work and the extent to which formal university-level business education has helped them to overcome these challenges. We find that the main challenges lie in human resource management- and marketing-related issues, followed by more country-specific problems such as dealing with bureaucracy, difficulties in obtaining financial resources, and coping with delayed payments. In line with criticism in the extant literature, Serbian SME managers see considerable deficits in the current system of university-level business education, specifically referring to a lack of practice-oriented teaching methods and insufficient cooperation between universities and the business sector. Suggestions for improvements of tertiary business education were also forwarded by the managers. This study contributes to a better understanding of the educational needs of managers who are representing an important part of the Serbian economy, which is strongly SME-based.

Keywords: education; SME; management; managerial challenges; Serbia (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:tkp:mklp13:255-265

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