Context of organizational learning

Stan, Mihaela (2010) Context of organizational learning. Doctoral thesis, University of London: London Business School. OPEN ACCESS


Understanding what enables effective organizational learning and adaptation is a question of great interest and relevance to strategy scholars and practitioners alike. While much has been learnt about the topic, our conceptualization of organizational learning continues to lean too heavily on the analogy of individual learning on a single task. Organizations comprise multiple individuals, with significant division of labour and mechanisms for integrating efforts. Learning in organizations thus typically occurs within teams of individuals working in a multi-task context. In this dissertation I explore two important aspects of the organizational context - formal organizational structures influencing interactions across functional subunits, and the characteristics of the tasks within which teams function. I analyse how these two aspects influence the adaptation and rate at which organizations learn by using longitudinal data combined with a natural experiment in the medical field of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) in the UK. My results shed new light on the role of integrators (i.e., formal managerial roles entrusted to coordinate specialists that are responsible for a team product or service), as well as the knowledge spillovers arising from undertaking more difficult tasks. Specifically, I find that learning rates are higher and the adaptive responses to the exogenous shock are more effective if IVF centres use integrators; similarly, I find that the benefits of accumulated experience (i.e. learning rates) are higher if IVF centres deal with more complex cases in their portfolio. Together, the results advance novel understandings of the organizational context within which organizations learn.

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Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subject Areas: Organisational Behaviour
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2022 16:34
Date of first compliant deposit: 10 Feb 2022
Subjects: Organisational development
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2022 04:53

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