This article examines an apparent contradiction at the heart of the provision of management training and advice for new and small firms. Assessments using self-report data show high levels of satisfaction, implying that the training/advice is effective and appreciated. In contrast, assessments using robust statistical methods point to modest, or even zero, impact upon firm performance. Accordingly, our core research question explores whether there is an identifiable performance benefit of management training or whether impact is limited to emotional attachment to the training provider – reflected in enhanced loyalty. We test this by examining the effects of a bank seminar provided for new enterprises and find it had no significant effects on either the survival or sales growth of participants. However, those new enterprises who participated in the seminar were significantly less likely to switch to a rival bank, implying the seminars may have induced a feeling of loyalty among clients. Finally, we discuss the implications for theory, for the bank and for the providers of training for new and small firms more widely.
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