Burgas Free University (BULGARIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2022 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 118-126
ISBN: 978-84-09-45476-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2022.0054
Conference name: 15th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 7-9 November, 2022
Location: Seville, Spain
Lifelong learning is a key source of human capital accumulation and, hence, innovations and growth in today’s developed economies. Bulgaria is one of the European countries with the lowest levels of participation in adult’s learning and continuing education and training. Regarding that, the present paper focuses on the link between management training or management consulting, and company’s innovation activity. The goals of the study are to evaluate the relationship between: 1. Participation in management training/consulting and the nature of innovative products/services – new ones or significantly improved ones, and 2. Participation in management training/consulting and the type of innovations being introduced - product or service innovations.

The empirical information, that we use, is based on a survey of 151 Bulgarian enterprises operating across the South-eastern or the South-western part of the country. The sample size is 0.08% of the total of number of companies in the two areas. Enterprises from all sectors of economic activity, mainly small and medium-sized ones, have been included. The data was collected in 2019 by direct structured interviews with the managers/owners at the respondent’s workplace – one person per firm. The questionnaire includes twelve sections. One section of 16 questions investigates the involvement in management training/consulting in the following areas: Leadership, Formulation of strategy/Planning, Organizational management, Financial management, Marketing/Sales, Production, Information technology and Human resource management (HRM). This allows for an estimation of the link between the field of training/consulting and the product/service innovations.

We test the hypothesis that the complementarity between product/service innovations and management training/consulting differ by the specific field of training/consulting. In the present study, the dependent variables (the nature of innovative products/services, product innovations/service innovations) and the independent variables (the training/consulting provided in the companies) are binary. First, the psi coefficient is used to measure the strength of association between the conducted management training/consultancy and the innovations in products or services introduced by the companies. Utilizing nonparametric Mann Whitney U test we check the general hypothesis. A descriptive statistical analysis regarding the frequency and the field of training/consulting is also conducted.

The output provides evidence that the two areas that exhibit statistically significant relationship with innovations are management consulting in HRM as well as in Leadership. Moreover, training in HRM seems to influence the introduction of new or significantly improved products/services before the competitors, thus making the firm an industry innovation leader. But, in general, we have not found significant correlations between the company’s innovation activity and most of the abovementioned fields of training/consulting. A likely reason might be the lack of effective cooperation between the enterprises, and the academic and research institutions serving as providers of training/consulting services. Also, it might be the inability of the providers to respond to the specific company’s needs. However, more research is needed in the light of these explanations.
Management training, management consultancy, innovation, continuing vocational education and training.