Learning Organizations or Organizations for Learning? How Small Firms can Learn from Planned and Random Technical Problem-Solving: Implications for Technical Education

Learning Organizations or Organizations for Learning? How Small Firms can Learn from Planned and Random Technical Problem-Solving: Implications for Technical Education

Corrado lo Storto (Universitá di Napoli Federico II, Italy)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-587-2.ch322
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Abstract

This chapter reports the findings of an empirical study whose purpose is to identify the attributes of the organization infrastructure that support organizational learning in small manufacturing firms through the creation of procedural knowledge. The study is based on the following assumptions: a) organizations are cognitive systems that process information and knowledge; b) knowledge is a by-product of technical problem solving; c) innovation occurs as a stream of random or planned problem solving; d) many attributes of the organization infrastructure that foster innovation also foster knowledge generation during technical problem solving. Findings show that three dimensions of the organization infrastructure have an influence on learning: openness, innovativeness, and leadership. These attributes identify two typologies of organization infrastructures that differently affect the generation of procedural knowledge and learning. In particular, it was found that the organization infrastructure has a moderating effect on the relationship between some context factors (environment diversity, problem complexity, context ambiguity, and uncertainty) and the amount of procedural knowledge generated during technical problem solving. Implications for technical education are also discussed.
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Background

In the last years, the business environment has dramatically changed. This new environment demands that firms perform their operations with greater speed, flexibility, dynamism, and superior quality. Global competition imposes higher, global standards of customer service, creativity, and innovation that even those firms having no global market goals are forced to meet to protect their market share. Knowledge and the capability of firms to learn developing new knowledge are two main strategic issues that hold the highest potentials for gaining efficiencies, and creating value.

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