Dynamic Learning as Entrepreneurial Action in the Context of Open Innovation: An Instrumental Case from a Communities-of-Practice Perspective

Dynamic Learning as Entrepreneurial Action in the Context of Open Innovation: An Instrumental Case from a Communities-of-Practice Perspective

Nicholas Theodorakopoulos (Aston University, UK), Catarina Figueira (Cranfield University, UK), Nada Kakabadse (University of Northampton, UK) and Andrew Kakabadse (Cranfield University, UK)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-519-9.ch010
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Recent scholarly discussion on open innovation put forward the notion that an organisation’s ability to internalise external knowledge and learn from various sources in undertaking new product development is crucial to its competitive performance. Nevertheless, little attention has been paid to how growth-oriented small firms identify and exploit entrepreneurial opportunities (i.e. take entrepreneurial action) related to such development, in an open innovation context, from a social learning perspective. This chapter, based on an instrumental case-firm, demonstrates analytically how learning as entrepreneurial action takes place, drawing on situated learning theory. It is argued that such learning is dynamic in nature and is founded on specific organising principles that foster both inter- and intracommunal learning.
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Entrepreneurial action entails creating new resources or combining existing resources in new ways to develop and commercialise new products, move into new markets/service new customers and/or introduce new organising processes (Sexton and Smilor, 1997; Hitt et al., 2001; Gartner et al., 2003). Growth-oriented small firms, the driving engine of economies across the world, are conceived of typifying entrepreneurial action, related to identifying and exploiting successfully entrepreneurial opportunities (see for instance Davidsson et al., 2002). By default, such entrepreneurial action is integrally related to innovatory activity (Schumpeter, 1934).

Gibbons et al. (1994) advanced the idea of a mode 2 knowledge production, a new way to generate knowledge within a dynamic, interactive system of multiple and diverse actors who are both users and co-producers of knowledge. In a similar vein, it has been argued that many firms, in order to sustain their ability to introduce new products to the market successfully, have shifted to a model of open innovation that exploits the knowledge of a wide range of actors (Chesbrough, 2003). In contrast to closed innovation, firms innovating in an open innovation model are able to use external ideas and knowledge in conjunction with internal R&D efforts to enhance their absorptive capacity (Cohen & Levinthal, 1990) and sustain innovation. Boundary-spanning linkages and internal mechanisms for effective knowledge sharing such as cross-functional teams are central to the notion of open innovation. The former allow access to external knowledge, whilst the latter enable its effective integration with extant knowledge base at a group/organisational level (Chesbrough, 2003, 2006; Chesbrough & Crowther, 2006). Overall, open innovation can be seen as a holistic approach to innovation management, “which refers to systematically encouraging and exploring a wide range of internal and external sources for innovation opportunities, consciously integrating that exploration with firm capabilities and resources, and broadly exploiting those opportunities through multiple channels” (Bröring & Herzog, 2008, p335).

From a social constructionist/practice-based perspective, Situated Learning Theory (SLT) (often referred to as Communities of Practice (CoP) theory) (Lave and Wenger, 1991; Brown and Duguid, 1991; Brown and Duguid, 1998; Wenger, 1998; Wenger, 2000) offers a potent theoretical lens for enhancing understanding of entrepreneurial action in an open innovation context. Importantly, it enables the examination of the phenomenon on the platform of social, participative practice, in stark contrast with conventional cognitive learning approaches (Geraldi et al., 1998). SLT’s centrepiece, the notion of CoP, provides the embedding generative framework for the development of new knowledge, emphasising the need to understand learning and knowing related to innovation as social micro-processes (Lave and Wenger, 1991; Brown and Duguid, 1991; Wenger, 1998; Brown and Duguid, 1998; Brown and Duguid, 2001a, b; Tsoukas, 2002; Huysman, 2004; Tsoukas and Mylonopoulos, 2004).

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
João Álvaro Carvalho
Hakikur Rahman, Isabel Ramos
Hakikur Rahman, Isabel Ramos
Chapter 1
Hakikur Rahman, Isabel Ramos
Innovation has become a recognized driver of economic prosperity of a country through sustained growth of its entrepreneurships. Moreover, recently... Sample PDF
Research and Practices on Open Innovation: Perspectives on SMEs
Chapter 2
Denis Remon
Open innovation has gained popularity in recent years. But is the concept new or does it express old realities? The literature review of this case... Sample PDF
Open Innovation and Organizational Capacities: Case Study of an SME
Chapter 3
Elham Metwally
This study of “Bird ICT” is a case of a business development company in the field of information and communication technology (ICT). The chapter... Sample PDF
Building Innovative Business Ideas in Small Business Enterprises: The Case of Bird ICT Company
Chapter 4
Matthew C. Heim
With the recent developments of open innovation as a formal management discipline, many organizations today are struggling to form effective... Sample PDF
A Structural Model for the Design and Implementation of Open Innovation
Chapter 5
Hakikur Rahman, Isabel Ramos
With the advent of innovative technologies and long the setting of entrepreneurship development philosophy, context and business handling have been... Sample PDF
A Research Model for Open Innovation: Synthesizing Opportunities and Challenges Surrounding SMEs
Chapter 6
Robert Girling
Innovation is vital to sustain and advance current activities or it can be vital to growing new businesses. The challenge for organizations... Sample PDF
Global Innovators: How Open Innovation Serves Humanity
Chapter 7
Amiram Porath
This chapter presents a model of open innovation as a collaborative effort of firms, mostly SMEs that are managed under a government support with... Sample PDF
Theoretical Model for a Local Economy Open Innovation Program: A User Organization
Chapter 8
Kam Hou Vat
This chapter investigates a mechanism of organizational innovation serving to make sense of a maturing university community involving educational... Sample PDF
Innovating Elite Undergraduate Education through Quality Continuous Improvement: A Learning Enterprise’s e-Transformation Perspective
Chapter 9
A.T. Juntunen
The purpose of the study in this chapter is to investigate and analyze the sources of innovation and success in food service industry. It also... Sample PDF
Sources of Innovation and Success in the Food Service Industry
Chapter 10
Nicholas Theodorakopoulos, Catarina Figueira, Nada Kakabadse, Andrew Kakabadse
Recent scholarly discussion on open innovation put forward the notion that an organisation’s ability to internalise external knowledge and learn... Sample PDF
Dynamic Learning as Entrepreneurial Action in the Context of Open Innovation: An Instrumental Case from a Communities-of-Practice Perspective
Chapter 11
Hakikur Rahman, Isabel Ramos
Open innovation in entrepreneurships already finds its acceptance at all levels of the business industry for adding value to the business. The value... Sample PDF
Open Innovation Strategies in SMEs: Development of a Business Model
Chapter 12
Simona Mihai Yiannaki
Undoubtedly, the nature of the relationships between business and risk factors in one country or another does not fit exactly into a “model” nor... Sample PDF
Cases Illustrating Risks and Crisis Management
Chapter 13
Carlos D. Santos, Márcio A. Gonçalves, Fabio Kon
Open source communities such as the ones responsible for Linux and Apache became well known for producing, with volunteer labor innovating over the... Sample PDF
Apache Sustained Competitive Advantage in the Web Server Industry
Chapter 14
Luis Angel Galindo Sánchez
This chapter describes a new sustainable business model, Innovation 2.0, led and deployed by the author, with the goal of increasing the innovation... Sample PDF
Innovation 2.0: Creating a Sustainable Business Model and a Win-Win Ecosystem
Chapter 15
Natasha Katuta Mwila
In as much as caution must be taken to avoid hyper inflating the advantages of open innovation and crowdsourcing, the relevance of the concepts... Sample PDF
Crowdsourcing in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises
Chapter 16
Rachael J. Ritchie, Keith C. Culver
France has long been associated with a state-directed “dirigiste” model of linear R&D focussed on large programmes such as development of the TGV... Sample PDF
Open Innovation in France: A Case Study of an Emerging Eco-Innovation Cluster
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