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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of World Business, Volume 45, Issue 1, January 2010, Pages 41–48
A large body of research has extensively studied the mechanisms behind organizational learning processes. However, there have been few studies of the learning process that explore the influences of history, context, and social meaning in international settings. Rather, the focus within the international management field has been on knowledge transfer. This study adopts a situated routine-based view of organizational learning to highlight the influence of national institutional characteristics on the acquisition and enactment of new knowledge. It is based on in-depth case studies that systematically compare the ways in which Japanese parent company knowledge diffuses to subsidiaries in the UK automotive industry. It concludes that organizational learning within the context of multinational corporations is shaped by actors’ enactment of new practices that are embedded in broader institutional contexts, where the links between knowledge transfer and the reinforcement of or change in routines are important in determining the level at which a subsidiary learns.
The study of organizational learning has proliferated in the field of economics (e.g., Rosenberg, 1982), change management (e.g., Pettigrew, 1988), and strategic management research (e.g., Prahalad & Hamel, 1990). A large body of research has extensively studied the mechanisms behind learning processes (for a review, see Argote, 1999 and Huber, 1991). There have been few studies of the learning process that explore the influences of history, context, and social meaning in international settings (see review by Easterby-Smith, Burgoyne, & Araujo, 1999; exceptions include Hong, Easterby-Smith, & Snell, 2006). Most of the international management literature tends to equate organizational learning with knowledge transfer (e.g., Lane et al., 2001, Macharzina et al., 2001 and Uhlenbruck et al., 2003) or the transfer of best practice that leads to firm survival and effective performance. Organizational learning as a routine-based, situated activity in international contexts has not received due attention. In the light of this development, this paper aims to highlight how national institutional characteristics influence the learning of alternative practices. Organizational learning in an international context is defined here as some combination of improving actions (Fiol & Lyles, 1985) and acquiring new knowledge (Hedberg, 1981), whether these are new products or processes, that is of strategic importance to the parent company. Organizational learning is discussed in the following section as a routine-based activity that is embedded in particular institutional settings. This is followed by the introduction of the method and empirical setting. The findings of the exploratory study that examine the influence of national business systems on learning patterns at the British subsidiaries of two Japanese multinational corporations (MNCs hereafter) are presented in Section 4. The final section presents the implications of adopting a routine-based understanding of learning situated in broader institutional contexts for research on the multinational firm.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Contextualist and processual accounts of learning that recognize the link between knowledge and action in the international arena deem more empirical research. It is not sufficient to argue that learning that is disembodied from practice is fostered by diversity in experience and the differences between acquired and acquiring firms (e.g., Barkema & Vermeulen, 1998). The highly interactive and contentious nature of learning requires the need to carry out more phenomenological studies that highlight the link between knowledge acquisition and enactment in routines and a holistic analysis of contexts whereby institutions as configurations are compared to understand diversity. This would address some of the failings, as outlined by Redding (2005), in international business scholarship, in particular the privileging of either context-free rational agency and determinacy, or the variable-based approaches to understanding contexts (Jackson & Deeg, 2008) over subtle and less explored influences of history, context and social meaning systems.