Session 276

Organizational Learning

Track I

Date: Monday, September 22, 2014


Time: 11:00 – 12:15

Common Ground

Room: Viena


  • Deborah Dougherty, Rutgers University

Title: Board Learning: The Influence of Board Members' Internal, External and Performance based Routine Learning on CEO Selection


  • Heejin Woo, California State University Fullerton
  • Jerayr Haleblian, University of California, Riverside
  • Nandini Rajagopalan, University of Southern California

Abstract: We draw upon theories of routine based learning to examine corporate boards’ CEO selection decision in a sample of CEO successions from 1993 and 2010. We theorize that boards learn from three different sources: internal-based routines created by task specific co-working experience, performance feedback routine driven by market evaluation of prior task performance, and external-based routine influenced by director interlocks . Findings are consistent with our theoretical predictions: internal-based routine learning and performance feedback routine learning are positively related to hiring a new CEO that is similar to the prior CEO, the interaction between them is positive and external-based routine learning is positively related to hiring a new CEO that is similar to the interlocked firm CEO.

Title: Embracing The Unknown: Transformative Leadership as a Function of Control and Learning how to Unlearn


  • Andreas Raharso, Hay Group
  • Witansa Angwidjaja, Hay Group
  • Justin Teh, Hay Group
  • Moses Lemuel, Hay Group

Abstract: How can leaders better anticipate future unknowns and transform their organisations as needed? In rapidly changing environments, transformative leadership is crucial for a firm to be able to adapt and remain viable. Unfortunately, human cognitive mindsets, as part of individuals’ identities, impose rigid structures that make it hard for leaders to recognise the necessity of preparing for the unknown. There are three main obstacles to transformative leadership: Narcissism, historical baggage and organisational inertia. To overcome the first two identity-related obstacles, leaders must develop dynamic learning capabilities or learn to unlearn. This can be done by creating transitional space to explore hypothetical new situations and thereby learn to adapt to change. Secondly, leaders must have sufficient control over their organisations overcome inertia that impedes organisational transformation.

Title: How Do Firms Actually Learn? Formal and Informal Transfers of Knowledge in Export Markets


  • Giovanni Valentini, IESE Business School
  • Elena Golovko, Tilburg University

Abstract: We study the effect of exports on firms’ innovation output in search for a better understanding of the process underlying the so-called ‘learning by exporting’ phenomenon. To do so, we distinguish between two types of knowledge that might be acquired in export markets: market and technological knowledge. These two types of knowledge have been generally treated equally by previous studies, although what is actually learnt in these cases is substantially different. How do firms actually obtain these two types of knowledge? We hypothesize that formal technology transfers are particularly salient if firms want to achieve also technological learning in export markets, and not merely learn about local market conditions, which can be provided by simple knowledge spillovers as prior literature has generally assumed.

Title: Strategic Interaction and Second Degree Exploitation: The Diffusion of Unutilized Knowledge


  • Sara Ryoo, University of Michigan

Abstract: Firms fail to utilize their knowledge because the firm lacks complementary assets in order to complete the innovation process or merely because the firm does not acknowledge the true value of their new findings. This paper attempts to identify the impact of networks on the diffusion of a firm’s unutilized knowledge and the benefits of such knowledge spillovers to the focal firm by a mechanism called second degree exploitation. I assess how a firm can benefit from spillovers through vicariously learning from its competitors of how to exploit the focal firm’s own unutilized knowledge. In order to support the proposed hypotheses, I examine the citation patterns of patents that are not utilized by the creator within the context of U.S. pharmaceutical industry.

Title: The Particular Case of Professional Service Firms in Ambidextrous Learning


  • Sebastian Kortmann, University of Amsterdam
  • Marc Salomon, University of Amsterdam

Abstract: Prior literature emphasizes the importance of balancing exploitative and exploratory knowledge sharing in the pursuit of sustainable competitive advantage. This capability is defined as ambidextrous organizational learning and involves the integration of internal and external knowledge sources. In service firms, where customers actively participate in the value creation process, the reconciliation of internal firm- and external customer knowledge requires specific attention. Knowledge asymmetries resulting from different degrees of specialization can influence benefits service firms can derive from their customers. Since professional service firms, such as management consultancies, reveal extreme degrees of specialized expertise, we build on the knowledge-based theory of the firm, the relational view of the firm, and agency theory to clarify the particular role of professional service firms in organizational ambidextrous learning.

Title: Up-Hill and Down-Hill Learning: Patterns of Knowledge Transfer Methods and Stickiness


  • Gabriel Szulanski, INSEAD
  • Dimo Ringov, ESADE Business School
  • Robert Jensen, Brigham Young University

Abstract: This paper explores how the sequencing of knowledge transfer methods impacts transfer difficulty (stickiness). We propose the existence of two basic patterns of organizational learning. In the first, which we refer to as “up-hill” learning (towards richer methods), richer methods are used at transfer ramp-up than at transfer initiation. In the second, which we refer to as “down-hill” learning (away from richer methods), richer methods are used at transfer initiation than at transfer ramp-up. We hypothesize that when the content of the learning is causally ambiguous and/or when there is an easy relationship between the source and the recipient, down-hill learning is more effective than up-hill in reducing stickiness. Using fine-grained proprietary data we operationalize the two patterns and empirically test of our predictions.

All Sessions in Track I...

Sun: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 278: Routines: Theoretical and Empirical Advancements and Avenues for Future Research
Sun: 09:30 – 10:45
Session 463: Big Data: Revolutionizing Innovation and Competition
Sun: 11:15 – 12:30
Session 464: Foundations Session: A conversation with Michael Tushman on Leadership, Innovation and Strategic Change
Sun: 15:45 – 17:00
Session 270: Innovation in MNCs and Global Networks
Session 275: Open Innovation: Outcomes and antecedents
Sun: 17:15 – 18:30
Session 605: Knowledge and Innovation IG Business Meeting
Mon: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 260: IPRs, Appropriability and Innovation
Session 274: Incumbents, Radical Innovations and Disruptive Technologies
Mon: 11:00 – 12:15
Session 276: Organizational Learning
Session 277: Learning From Others
Session 372: The Challenges of Global Operations: Managing R&D and Complexity
Session 423: Alliances and Innovation Performance
Mon: 14:45 – 16:00
Session 265: Learning, Search, Slack: The behavioral theory revisited
Session 269: Knowledge Flows: Transfer, sharing and replication
Mon: 16:30 – 17:45
Session 254: Conversations about Knowledge
Session 257: Spin offs, Venture Capital and Entrepreneurship
Tue: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 259: Institutionalizing Innovation: Norms, status and legitimacy issues
Session 273: From Internal Resources to Customer Needs
Session 383: Globalization of R&D: Implications for Learning and Innovation
Tue: 11:00 – 12:15
Session 267: The Role of Individuals in Innovation
Session 272: Research and Development: Antecedents and outcomes
Session 361: Creativity and Innovation
Session 469: M&As and Innovation
Tue: 15:30 – 16:45
Session 262: Networks of Innovators
Session 263: Innovation Models in Emerging Economies
Tue: 17:15 – 18:30
Session 255: Exploration and Exploitation
Session 256: Organizing for Open Innovation
Session 261: Practices and Processes for Innovation

Strategic Management Society