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    Power and inter-organizational learning: intertwining new knowledge

    Jones, Oswald and Macpherson, Allan (2005) Power and inter-organizational learning: intertwining new knowledge. UNSPECIFIED. Manchester Metropolitan University. ISSN 1478-8209


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    The ability to learn from customers and suppliers is key to improvements in productivity and longer-term competitive advantage in smaller firms. However, SMEs lack the internal structures, routines and procedures by which larger organizations absorb knowledge. Therefore, we suggest that inter-organizational links are essential if owner-managers are serious about institutionalising new knowledge. To demonstrate how this process operates we re-conceptualise the 4I learning framework to incorporate inter- as well as intra-organizational linkages. The 5I framework suggests that SMEs must maintain a balance between exploration and exploitation if the firm is to remain competitive. We also extend the original model by suggesting the ‘feedback’ learning processes are shaped by the power of ownermanagers. Two case studies provide clear illustrations of the way in which ownermanagers can mediate the absorption of new knowledge from external organizations, but also the role that external organizations can play in encouraging organizational learning in small firms.

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