An exploration of the meaning of innovation held by students, teachers and SMEs in Spain

Cascón-Pereira, Rosalia; Moral Martín, David; Brunet, Ignasi
Innovation has been at the forefront of the reforms and changes in the vocational education and training (VET) system in Spain and is defined as a necessary competence to be developed in students to improve their adaptation to the work context. However, there is still only limited knowledge about the role VET plays in the innovation process. Given that meanings are considered the base of all human expression, such as attitudes to innovation or innovative behaviours, this study qualitatively explores the meanings 42 VET teachers, 20 Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) managers and 24 VET students in Catalonia (Spain) give to innovation, with the purpose of clarifying the ‘black box’ of the innovative process. A diversity of meanings for innovation was found among the social actors in the study. In particular, SMEs shared a homogeneous and neo-Schumpeterian view of innovation. VET teachers held diverse views with the majority ascribing to the neo-Schumpeterian view and a minority sharing a broader view that included the social dimension of innovation. Finally, VET students were characterised by having an idealistic and vague idea of innovation. The theoretical and practical implications of the different meanings in fostering innovation are discussed.
Type of Publication:
innovation; meanings; vocational education and training; social actors; SMEs
Journal of Vocational Education & Training
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