بررسی تاثیر قابلیت یادگیری سازمانی بر عملکرد نوآوری محصول: آزمون تجربی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|4006||2008||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Technovation, Volume 28, Issue 6, June 2008, Pages 315–326
This paper examines how organizational learning capability affects product innovation performance. We define organizational learning capability through five dimensions or mechanisms: experimentation, risk taking, interaction with the external environment, dialogue and participative decision making. The impact of these mechanisms on product innovation performance is also analyzed. We use structural equations modeling to test our research hypotheses on a data set from the ceramic tile industry. Results support our conceptual model and underline the importance that learning has for innovation performance. Implications of the findings for both academics and practitioners are examined.
Innovation is fast becoming a crucial factor in company performance and survival as a result of the evolution of the competitive environment (Wheelwright and Clark, 1992; Bueno and Ordoñez, 2004). In this vein, Balachandra and Friar (1997) consider that the successful introduction of new products is the lifeblood of most organizations. The importance of product innovation for good long-term company results is now widely recognized and has been extensively reported in the literature (Capon et al., 1992; Lemon and Sahota, 2004; Montalvo, 2006). Innovation consists of successfully implementing creative ideas within an organization (Myers and Marquis, 1969; Amabile et al., 1996), and is therefore closely related to organizational learning. Innovation is conceived as an individual and collective learning process that aims to find new ways of solving problems. As a result, innovation seems to depend on the company's capability to learn through which new knowledge is developed, distributed and used. Organizational learning is the process by which organizations learn. Learning is any change in the organization's models that maintains or improves performance (Cyert and March, 1963; Hedberg, 1981; Dibella et al., 1996). Based on previous definitions of capability (Zander and Kogut, 1995; Teece et al., 1997), we understand organizational learning capability (OLC) as a bundle of tangible and intangible resources or skills the firm uses to achieve new forms of competitive advantage. These skills enable the process of organizational learning. OLC is usually related to the prescriptive literature on organizational learning (Tsang, 1997) which analyses the contextual variables that facilitate learning (Nevis et al., 1995; Hult and Ferrell, 1997; Jérez-Gómez et al., 2005). This literature has revealed that learning can be promoted and guided when certain conditions or characteristics are in place. The capacity to learn has been considered a key index of an organization's effectiveness and potential to innovate (Jérez-Gómez et al., 2005). Prior research suggests that organizational learning affects product innovation performance. McKee (1992) understands product innovation as an organizational learning process and claims that directing the organization towards learning fosters innovation effectiveness and efficiency. Wheelwright and Clark (1992) suggest that learning plays a determinant role in new product development projects because it allows new products to be adapted to changing environmental factors, such as customer demand uncertainty, technological developments or competitive turbulence. Recently, Hult et al. (2004) pointed out that if a firm is to be innovative, management must devise organizational features that embody a clear learning orientation. Specifically, some cultural factors such as decentralization in decision making, error tolerance or social relations have been shown to affect knowledge and innovation outcomes through organizational learning (Chang and Harrington, 2003; Lemon and Sahota, 2004). However, this link needs a wider and more comprehensive analysis, including the main characteristics that foster organizational learning (Argote et al., 2003; Bueno and Ordoñez, 2004; Koc and Ceylan, 2006). Calantone et al. (2002) defined a firm's learning orientation as the organizational activities of creating and using knowledge to enhance competitive advantage. Their study underscored the importance of learning orientation and linked it with innovation. However, Calantone et al. (2002) emphasized that more empirical work in this direction was imperative. Recently, Chiva et al. (2007) carried out an integrative analysis of the literature on OLC and proposed five essential facilitating factors: experimentation, risk taking, interaction with the external environment, dialogue and participative decision making. We propose that OLC could represent the foundations of a firm's learning orientation. The aim of this paper is to assess the contribution OLC makes to product innovation performance. To this end, we carried out a survey that examined OLC and product innovation performance in Italian and Spanish ceramic tile producing firms. We used structural equations modeling to test research hypotheses. This paper makes three contributions to the literature. Firstly, at the firm level, we test a conceptualization of OLC proposed originally by Chiva et al. (2007) at the individual level. Secondly, we test a conceptualization of product innovation performance recently proposed by Alegre et al. (2006) in a different industrial setting. Thirdly, we explain product innovation performance as a function of OLC, the organizational foundations of a firm's learning orientation. By examining innovation performance rather than overall firm performance, we avoid confounding the effect of other firm actions that do not belong to the OLC and innovation domain, or which may contribute differentially to overall performance (Ray et al., 2004). However, it should be noted that innovation performance is closely linked to overall performance (Wheelwright and Clark, 1992; Brockman and Morgan, 2003; West and Iansiti, 2003). Therefore, it should be reasonable to assume that innovation performance is positively related to competitive advantage.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
We have taken a further step towards testing the relationship between OLC and product innovation performance. Results provide support for the model presented in Fig. 1 and the underlying hypotheses. Findings have important implications in the field of organizational learning and knowledge management. Firstly, this research provides empirical evidence that OLC enhances product innovation performance. Empirical tests on organizational learning are still an imperative task for academics, according to Calantone and his colleagues (2002). Although there is some support in the literature for such a relationship, this study uses a new integrative conceptualization of OLC to test it. This OLC concept includes five dimensions—experimentation, risk taking, interaction with the environment, dialogue and participative decision making. Our study makes a contribution to the literature by supporting the perspective that innovation performance is a function of OLC. This finding is important for both academics and practitioners. Practitioners should take the five dimensions into account when setting their companies’ innovation objectives. The OLC measurement instrument could also be used for audit purposes to assess the firm's own evolution over time or to evaluate suppliers whose participation in the innovation process could be relevant. OLC learning facilitating factors might be included in subsequent innovation and strategy research. Our study has shown a positive link between the organizational requirements for learning and innovation, the main learning output. Although we have not included the learning process in our research framework, we can assume that organizational learning has actually occurred. This finding has important implications: OLC represents the organizational foundation for learning either though exploration or exploitation (March, 1991; Ahuja and Lampert, 1993). Therefore, OLC could be the organizational antecedent of important related concepts such as absorptive capacity (Cohen and Levinthal, 1990; Bierly and Chakrabarti, 1996; Lane et al., 2006), the firm's dynamic capabilities (Teece et al., 1997; Eisenhardt and Martin, 2000; Winter, 2000; Zollo and Winter, 2002), and corporate renewal (Mezias and Glynn, 1993). This justifies an interesting future line of research to explore these propositions. The OLC measurement scale applied in this study was recently proposed by Chiva et al. (2007) at the employee level. Therefore, a methodological contribution is also made to the empirical validation of this scale to assess OLC at the firm level. A perceptual measure for OLC may be useful for further academic research as well as for carrying out internal audits in companies. The validation of the product innovation measurement scale proposed by Alegre et al. (2006) in a different industrial context also represents a methodological contribution. Our results must be viewed in the light of the study's limitations. Based on our previous definition of OLC, we assume that it enables the learning process of an organization; however this relationship is not tested in our research. Although previous empirical studies have followed a similar approach (e.g. Prieto and Revilla, 2006), this constitutes a limitation of our research. As with all cross-sectional research, the relationship tested in this study represents a snapshot in time. While it is likely that the conditions under which the data were collected will essentially remain the same, there are no guarantees that this will be the case. As we have carried out a single industry analysis, our study has benefited from the advantage of dealing with new products that are likely to be economically and technologically homogeneous. However, it must be stressed that single industry conclusions have to be considered with caution. To some extent, this constrains the elevation of theory. Therefore, it would be interesting to determine the applicability of these results to other industries. A multi-industry analysis would provide wider and more robust evidence for our findings. Finally, our research framework could be amplified to include the process of organizational learning by paying special attention to the different modes of learning: internal and external (Bierly and Chakrabarti, 1996), and exploration and exploitation (March, 1991; Koc and Ceylan, 2006). Our study does not take into account either the learning process or the different learning skills (McKee, 1992) that are required for each type of innovation. Future research could also include these variables.