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Adm. Sci., Volume 3, Issue 3 (September 2013), Pages 32-165

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Research

Open AccessArticle Autonomy, Conformity and Organizational Learning
Adm. Sci. 2013, 3(3), 32-52; doi:10.3390/admsci3030032
Received: 14 May 2013 / Revised: 24 June 2013 / Accepted: 28 June 2013 / Published: 5 July 2013
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Abstract
There is often said to be a tension between the two types of organizational learning activities, exploration and exploitation. The argument goes that the two activities are substitutes, competing for scarce resources when firms need different capabilities and management policies. We present another
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There is often said to be a tension between the two types of organizational learning activities, exploration and exploitation. The argument goes that the two activities are substitutes, competing for scarce resources when firms need different capabilities and management policies. We present another explanation, attributing the tension to the dynamic interactions among search, knowledge sharing, evaluation and alignment within organizations. Our results show that successful organizations tend to bifurcate into two types: those that always promote individual initiatives and build organizational strengths on individual learning and those good at assimilating the individual knowledge base and exploiting shared knowledge. Straddling the two types often fails. The intuition is that an equal mixture of individual search and assimilation slows down individual learning, while at the same time making it difficult to update organizational knowledge because individuals’ knowledge base is not sufficiently homogenized. Straddling is especially inefficient when the operation is sufficiently complex or when the business environment is sufficiently turbulent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Computational Organization Theory)
Open AccessArticle Individual Learning and Social Learning: Endogenous Division of Cognitive Labor in a Population of Co-evolving Problem-Solvers
Adm. Sci. 2013, 3(3), 53-75; doi:10.3390/admsci3030053
Received: 17 May 2013 / Revised: 28 June 2013 / Accepted: 2 July 2013 / Published: 12 July 2013
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Abstract
The dynamic choice between individual and social learning is explored for a population of autonomous agents whose objective is to find solutions to a stream of related problems. The probability that an agent is in the individual learning mode, as opposed to the
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The dynamic choice between individual and social learning is explored for a population of autonomous agents whose objective is to find solutions to a stream of related problems. The probability that an agent is in the individual learning mode, as opposed to the social learning mode, evolves over time through reinforcement learning. Furthermore, the communication network of an agent is also endogenous. Our main finding is that when agents are sufficiently effective at social learning, structure emerges in the form of specialization. Some agents focus on coming up with new ideas while the remainder of the population focuses on imitating worthwhile ideas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Computational Organization Theory)
Open AccessArticle Reflective Practice as a Fuel for Organizational Learning
Adm. Sci. 2013, 3(3), 76-95; doi:10.3390/admsci3030076
Received: 11 May 2013 / Revised: 2 July 2013 / Accepted: 11 July 2013 / Published: 16 July 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (549 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Learning theories and their interpretations in management research recognize the role of reflection as a central element in the learning process. There also exists a broad consensus that organizational learning (OL) happens at three intertwined levels of the individual, the group and the
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Learning theories and their interpretations in management research recognize the role of reflection as a central element in the learning process. There also exists a broad consensus that organizational learning (OL) happens at three intertwined levels of the individual, the group and the organization. This tri-level analysis has been most influentially presented by Crossan, Lane and White (1999), as a premise for their 4I framework of OL. Though the 4I framework builds strongly on existing literature on OL, it does not address the role of reflection as a factor operating between the inputs and outcomes in 4I sub-processes. Though a large body of research exists regarding the notion of reflection and its importance in terms of OL, this has not been discussed in the specific context of the 4I framework. This article contributes to the development of the 4I model by discussing how reflective practice—on three levels and within 4I sub-processes—fuels the OL process. The argumentation is based on an extensive literature review in three dimensions of learning, illustrated with an empirical inquiry into three business organizations and their reflective practice. In addition, the aim is to increase the understanding of reflection as not only an individual or group process, but as an organized practice, enabled by the tools of management control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organizational Learning: Developments in Theory and in Practice)
Open AccessArticle Extending the 4I Organizational Learning Model: Information Sources, Foraging Processes and Tools
Adm. Sci. 2013, 3(3), 96-109; doi:10.3390/admsci3030096
Received: 1 July 2013 / Revised: 5 August 2013 / Accepted: 15 August 2013 / Published: 27 August 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (90 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The continued importance of organizational learning has recently led to several calls for further developing the theory. This article addresses these calls by extending Crossan, Lane and White’s (1999) 4I model to include a fifth process, information foraging, and a fourth level, the
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The continued importance of organizational learning has recently led to several calls for further developing the theory. This article addresses these calls by extending Crossan, Lane and White’s (1999) 4I model to include a fifth process, information foraging, and a fourth level, the tool. The resulting 5I organizational learning model can be generalized to a number of learning contexts, especially those that involve understanding and making sense of data and information. Given the need for organizations to both innovate and increase productivity, and the volumes of data and information that are available to support both, the 5I model addresses an important organizational issue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organizational Learning: Developments in Theory and in Practice)
Open AccessArticle The Role of the Management Fashion Arena in the Cross-National Diffusion of Management Concepts: The Case of the Balanced Scorecard in the Scandinavian Countries
Adm. Sci. 2013, 3(3), 110-142; doi:10.3390/admsci3030110
Received: 24 June 2013 / Revised: 8 August 2013 / Accepted: 19 August 2013 / Published: 28 August 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (139 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The diffusion of fashionable management concepts is an important research topic in management and organization studies. Researchers have pointed out that various actors such as consultants, conference organizers and the business media comprise the so-called “management fashion arena” around a management concept. However,
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The diffusion of fashionable management concepts is an important research topic in management and organization studies. Researchers have pointed out that various actors such as consultants, conference organizers and the business media comprise the so-called “management fashion arena” around a management concept. However, a weakness of extant conceptualizations of management fashion arenas is in the lack of an explicit consideration of the dynamics between local and international actors. Drawing on the notion of “institutional duality”, we argue that the concept’s trajectory at the national level is shaped by both country-specific actors and international actors. Furthermore, we recognize that the presence and involvement of different types of actors may vary across different countries. Empirically, we analyze the level of involvement of actors such as consultants, professional groups, software firms, and conference organizers in the cross-national diffusion of the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) in the three Scandinavian countries. The comparative analysis of the data shows both similarities and differences between the three countries in terms of which actors have been the most influential players. Despite certain similarities and overlaps, the three markets can be considered largely national with key local players. Furthermore, country-specific actors appear to have played a particularly important role in the early phase in terms of establishing the concept in the local markets. These findings are used to elaborate on present conceptualizations of the management fashion arena, and to discuss the role of local and international actors in the cross-national diffusion of management concepts. Full article
Open AccessArticle Relationship between Leadership and Characteristics of Learning Organizations in Deployed Military Units: An Exploratory Study
Adm. Sci. 2013, 3(3), 143-165; doi:10.3390/admsci3030143
Received: 12 July 2013 / Revised: 3 September 2013 / Accepted: 4 September 2013 / Published: 13 September 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (233 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Previous research has shown that military units operating in the context of risky missions display the characteristics of a Learning Organization. The present work provides preliminary exploratory evidence about the association between Learning Organization characteristics and leadership styles used by military leaders in
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Previous research has shown that military units operating in the context of risky missions display the characteristics of a Learning Organization. The present work provides preliminary exploratory evidence about the association between Learning Organization characteristics and leadership styles used by military leaders in the field. Based on the literature, we hypothesized that higher Learning Organization characteristics would be associated with a more transformational style of leadership that inspires followers. With this purpose, the five characteristics of a Learning Organization as defined by Peter Senge (Systems Thinking, Team Learning, Shared Vision, Mental Models, and Personal Mastery) and leadership styles as defined by the multifactor leadership model of Bass and Avolio (Transformational, Transactional, and Passive-Avoidant), were measured among commanding officers who had recently served in a mission abroad. Associations with organizational outcomes (Extra-Effort, Effectiveness, and Satisfaction) were also investigated for both Learning Organization characteristics and leadership styles. The correlations showed that Learning Organization characteristics were highly related to Transformational leadership dimensions, and also with Transactional leadership based on Contingent Rewards; meanwhile no association was found with a Passive-Avoidant leadership. Organizational outcomes were also related to Transformational leadership, Contingent Rewards and to various characteristics of a Learning Organization. Implications of these results, as well as avenues for future research, are also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organizational Learning: Developments in Theory and in Practice)

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