Effectsof Learning Capability On Non-Technical Innovation
Effectsof Learning Capability On Non-Technical Innovation
Theimportance of innovation cannot be gainsaid as far as the progress ofthe human society is concerned. Indeed, it may be acknowledged thatthe current situation of human beings is purely credited toinnovation, particularly given the numerous inventions that haveenhanced the quality of life in the contemporary times. It may beacknowledged, however, that there are variations in the definitionsor even the types of innovations. Of course, innovation may be termedas the introduction of new things, ideas, devices or methods of doingthings. However, a widely accepted definition of the term underlinesthe fact that it refers to the process by which inventions or ideasare translated into a service or a good that has the capacity tocreate value and for which users would, usually, be required to paysome money for its usage (Tatikonda &Montoya-Weiss,2001). Of particular note is the fact that for any idea to be deemedas an innovation, it has to be replicable at a considerablyeconomical cost and has to satisfy a particular need.
Innovationswould involve the deliberate application of initiative, imaginationand information in the derivation of different or greater values fromthe available resources and would also include every other processthrough which new ideas would be generated and converted intoproducts that add value to an individual’s life (Tatikonda &Montoya-Weiss, 2001). Of particular note is the fact that there is nolimit to the fields within which a particular innovation isundertaken, in which case it could occur in business, technology,science, mathematics or even geography. In business, innovationusually comes up in instances where ideas are applied by businessentities so as to satisfy the expectations and needs of thecustomers. In the case of social contexts, innovations allow for thecreation of new techniques for alliance creation, joint venturing andthe creation of more buyer purchasing power among others (Tatikonda &Montoya-Weiss, 2001).
Thereare varied types of innovations that have been explored in differentliterary works. In this paper, however, the explored aspects would bethe technical and non-technical forms of innovation. Of course, itmay be acknowledged that business entities are required topersistently remain innovative so as to safeguard theircompetitiveness in both the long-term and the short-term. It isacknowledged that business environments are always changing ordynamic in nature, in which case business entities have to keepinnovating and creating new ways of doing things so as to better meetthe needs of the customers (Tatikonda & Montoya-Weiss, 2001).This is dependent on the learning capabilities of the organization.
Organizationallearning capability underlines the managerial and organizationalcharacteristics or factors that would encourage or prop the learningprocess so as to allow organizations to learn. This is closelyrelated to knowledge performance, which underlines the capacity of anorganization, individual or a group to comprehend the things thathave been learnt. Business entities often pursue higher profits,which is attained through increased sales and decreased expenses(Argote, 2000). Perhaps the most efficient and effective way of doingthis revolves around the use of technology. In the context of thispaper, technology would be defined as the set of processes,techniques and methods that are used in the production of servicesand goods and the accomplishment of the set objectives and goals of aparticular entity (Tatikonda & Montoya-Weiss, 2001).. It isnoteworthy that this may be the knowledge of the processes andtechniques or may be embedded in devices that are operated by humanbeings without fundamental knowledge of the operation of these things(Tatikonda & Montoya-Weiss, 2001).. Of course, technology is atthe heart of learning capability and innovation particularly giventhe fact that one would have to incorporate the capacity to determinethe predisposing problems in a particular area and come up withspecific ideas pertaining to how the problems would be solvedeffectively and efficiently.
Indeed,it should also be noted that more often than not, innovation isexamined with regard to the technical bit of innovation where newmachines or new technology will be incorporated in the businessentity, thereby allowing for the enhancing of efficiency andproductivity in the long-term and the short-term within the businessentity (Hall & Bagchi-Sen, 2007). This should not be surprisinggiven that the effects of technology on the production process havebecome evident in the contemporary human society. Technology hasoffered new ways through which business entities can interact withits stakeholders particularly the customers. In the contemporarysociety, a large proportion of customer interaction is undertaken ondigital platforms (Aulich, 2003). Irrespective of the manner in whichthe encounter with customers is undertaken, data would be generatedand could be used in the creation of a considerably more personalizedcustomer experience. Researchers have noted that every encountergenerates an impression that customers can broadly and easily share(Aulich, 2003). On the same note, innovation, particularlytechnological, can assist business entities to discover theopportunities that currently exist or that have the possibility ofcoming up in the future. Successful organizations or businessentities do not only craft their operations in a manner that allowsfor response to the current organizational and customer needs butalso anticipate the future trends. In essence, the informationderived pertaining to likely trends allows them to develop a service,product and idea that enables the company to meet its future demandin a rapid and effective manner. This underlines the fact thattechnology and other forms of innovation allow individuals andbusiness entities to stay ahead of their competitors as trends,technologies and markets shift.However, the overconcentration ontechnical innovation tends to ignore a fundamentally crucial elementof innovation, which is the non-technical bit (Tatikonda &Montoya-Weiss, 2001). Indeed, scholars have acknowledged thatinnovation does not only revolve around designing new services andproducts to sell, rather it may also focus on the existing businesspractices and processes in the improvement of efficiency, finding newcustomers, and reducing the waste products so as to enhanceproductivity, profits, and sustainability in the long-term and theshort-term. Constant or persistent innovation and improvement ofbusiness practices has a high likelihood of assisting individuals toattract better members of staff or employees, as well as retain alarger proportion of the existing staff, something that is crucial tothe long-term performance and health of the business entity.Similarly, innovation, technological or otherwise, comes in handy inthe development of a distinctive selling point. More often than not,consumers perceive innovation as something that adds value to abusiness entity or even to its products. In instances whereinnovation is used in an appropriate manner, it has the capacity togive the business entity a competitive advantage particularly withregard to rapidly shifting or saturated markets. Indeed, there areinstances where consumers are willing to pay a little bit more forinnovative, well designed and novel services and products instead ofselecting one that is derived from a considerably less excitingcompetitor. Nevertheless, while it may be easy to assume that thesimple purchase and installation of varied technological innovationswould enhance the productivity of the business entity, it would beworth noting that at no one time can machines make decisions or evenweigh a situation and come up with a particular solution for the same(Tatikonda & Montoya-Weiss, 2001). In essence, human beings wouldhave to be incorporated in the production process and in thedecision-making. On the same note, they would be required to use themachines and the technology that is established in the businessentity in the creation of value within a business entity.
Ofcourse, this underlines the increased interconnectedness betweentechnical and non-technical innovation, as well as between humanresources and the technology. In addition, the interconnectedness isevident between innovation and the performance of a company. Indeed,it should be acknowledged that innovation, whether non-technical ortechnical, always involves some element of comprehension of thecurrent situation of a business entity and coming up with properstrategies that would turn the fortunes of a business entity orrather enhance the performance and efficiency of production in thebusiness entity. This is the only reason a business entity woulddedicate its financial and human resources to such a task.
Asmuch as concepts such as organizational learning capability andinnovation (both technical and non-technical) have been considerablywell developed and utilized in organizations, there is stilldeficiency of literature with regard to the manner in which the twoare correlated. However, volumes of literary works have examined thetwo concepts separately. Of particular note is the fact that a largeproportion of these literary works have examined these concepts in atheoretical manner rather than having to carry out primary researchor using any data analysis techniques. In the case of the few thatdid use primary data, selected companies would be used whereemployees would be assigned questionnaires regarding their perceptionon the level of knowledge sharing. Managers and business executiveswould also be interviewed regarding the strategies that they have putin place so as to enhance knowledge sharing. Once results of thosestrategies were determined, the scholars would examine any change inthe manner in which varied operations were carried out in thebusiness entities and determine whether the changes could be directlyattributed to the incorporation of the new knowledge sharingtechniques.
Definitionof non-technical innovation and learning capability
Thedefinition of non-technical innovation would best be comprehendedthrough the clarification of the difference between the non-technicaland technical innovation. Non-technical innovation is often seen asunderlining the introduction of new methods of marketing, as well asnew organizational techniques. Non-technical innovation triggers orfosters success with process and product innovation terms of salewith cost reduction and market novelties resulting from the newprocesses (Aulich, 2003). Technical innovation, on the other handrevolves around the introduction of a new device or technique withina business entity so as to allow for better productivity. However, itshould be noted that the two types of innovate are usually related tothe application and development of new technologies. Indeed, newproducts incorporate new technical features that provide newfunctionalities, enhance the quality of products and allow forentirely new application areas. Further, new processes are generallybased on the utilization of new technologies to enhance the qualityand efficiency of production.
Non-technicalinnovation usually revolves around the introduction of entirely newOrganizational techniques, as well as new marketing techniques. There are two major components of non-technical innovation includingmanagement and marketing. There are varied reasons why scholars haveturned their attention to non-technical innovation. These mainlyinvolve the deficiencies of technical innovation (Nasution et al,2011). First, technical innovation is biased to innovation inmanufacturing and not capable of fully capturing the innovationundertaken in services. In addition, innovation in firms does notsimply revolve around the development and application of technologiesbut also the adoption and re-organization of marketing, externalrelations, business routines and internal organization. In addition,innovation management literature has underlined the importance ofintegrating organizational innovation, product and process in thesuccessful transfer of new business opportunities and new ideas tomarket success, while also laying emphasis on the connection of R&D,new marketing approaches and technological innovation (Nasution etal, 2011). Non-technical innovation is composed of marketinginnovation and organizational innovation, which complement thestandard concepts of process and product innovation. Organizationalinnovation underlines the implementation of new organizationaltechniques that have never been used before in the firm, whilemarketing innovation underlines the implementation of new marketingtechnique. Other scholars and researchers have defined marketinginnovation as the implementation of entirely new marketing techniquesthat involve considerable modification in the packaging and design ofthe product, the placement of the product, as well as pricing orpromotion of the product. Organizational innovation, on the otherhand is seen as the implementation of new organizational techniquesin the business practices of the firm, workplace organization, aswell as external relations.
Thereare varied factors that stand in the way of non-technical innovationin the organization. Key among them is the deficiency of funds, whichmakes it difficult for individuals to actualize innovation and,therefore, discourages them from innovating. It should beacknowledged that, more often than not, individuals innovate ininstances where their innovations and new ways of doing things aretested and implemented in the business entity and put to use.Unfortunately, this often involves a complete paradigm shift in themanner in which the business entity runs its affairs, in which casethere could be resistance from the bureaucracy or rather theestablished framework. Indeed, business entities would have a hardtime implementing a particular set of processes and substitutingtheir well tested and proven processes and organizational activitiesfor the new and risky ones. This is particularly informed by thedeficiency of clear information regarding the manner in which the newprocesses would be implemented or even their potential impact on thecompetitiveness of the business entity in the long-term and theshort-term. In addition, there is the deficiency of information ontechnology and markets, as well as qualified personnel (Hamel, 2009).It is often the case that business entities have a hard timeinnovating as a result of deficiency of expertise that would allowfor the actualization of the innovations and ideas that theindividuals have. Such deficiency of expertise also comes in handy inthe weaknesses of knowledge in intellectual property and rights(Dixon, 2000). Further, there are market factors that stand in theway of non-technical innovation, including ease of imitatinginnovation, uncertain demand for the innovative services and goods,as well as the fact that the market is dominated by considerably wellestablished enterprises (Damanpour & Aravind, 2000). Further,there are organizational factors that stand in the way of innovationincluding the deficiency of facilities and infrastructure, theattitudes of personnel and managers towards change, the managementstructures of the business entity, as well as the inability of theorganization to dedicate its staff to innovation activities as aresult of production requirements (Kodama, 1994).
Organizationallearning capabilities are defined as the capacity of a particularorganization to apply the appropriate and accurate managementpractices and structures and procedures that facilitate, enhance andencourage learning. Scholars have underlined the notion that thegrowth of this practice results in stronger learning capabilityacross the organization (Damanpour & Aravind, 2000). Ofparticular note is the fact that organizational learning is oftendescribed using for elements including thoroughness, existent,elaborateness and breadth. Organizational learning capability wouldbe more understood in the context of the organizational learning,which underlines the organizational process that is bothunintentional and intentional, allowing a business entity to acquire,access, as well as revise its organizational memory, thereby offeringdirection to the organizational action (Lokshin et al, 2008). Thisbrings to the fore the fundamental characteristics of organizationallearning. First, organizational learning would have to take placewithin the organizational context, which distinguishes it fromlearning that could take place in other social analysis levels suchas inter-organizational networks, groups or individual levels(Damanpour & Aravind, 2000). As much as recent times have seenorganizational learning being treated in a manner that lays emphasison interactions among multiple analysis levels, the definition wouldconfine it to organizational level (Lokshin et al, 2008). On the samenote, organizational learning should be perceived as a process ratherthan a configuration of some structural components. As much asprescriptions pertaining to learning organizations’ design oftenlay emphasis on nonhierarchical and team-based structures, theprocess of learning may take place within varied structuralarrangements. In addition, organizational learning should beconsidered as both deliberate and unintentional, which means that itcould occur whether it is under the guidance of intended decision ornot. In addition, organizational memory plays a fundamental role inorganizational learning (Damanpour & Aravind, 2000).Organizational memory may generically underline the knowledge that isstored in varied repositories both artifact and human and includesthe common comprehensions of the identity of the organization, themental models representing the theories that are used in theorganization, as well as the behavioral and cognitive routines(Lokshin et al, 2008). Lastly, organizational learning process occursin an effort to direct the organizational action. Scholars note thatthe business entity would use the acquired knowledge to enhance itsrepertoire for action (Lokshin et al, 2008). This definitionunderlines the fact that while action and learning are connected,organizational learning may result in either diminished or enhancedeffectiveness (Nasution et al, 2011). This means that learning wouldnot always result in enhanced effectiveness. Indeed, there areinstances where business entities develop some competency traps wherethe knowledge obtained from their experiences in the past is appliedincorrectly to present-day problems (Roth, 2009). As much as a largeproportion of literature pertaining to organizational learningunderlines the notion that learning is always a positive force, it isimperative that one acknowledges that learning disabilities may alsoemanate as negative consequences for business entities (Nasution etal, 2011).
Organizationallearning capability is composed of five distinctive elements. First,Organizational learning capability is composed of a shared vision andmission. Scholars have underlined the fact that a shared visionrevolves around the development of a sense of commitment in anorganization through the design of future images of ambition andprinciple as guidance for success (Damanpour et al, 2009). Thedetermination of the clarity of mission and vision in an organizationis extremely crucial in the prevention of hindrance in theconsistency of performance. A shared mission and vision comes inhandy in the generation of an optimistic performance in theorganization as far as finances are concerned including profits andsales. Common mission and vision encourages employees to generate, aswell as contribute to the growth of the organization especially withregard to meeting the information needs of the company (Oden, 1997).For employers to promote knowledge sharing among employees, it isimperative that they set clear achievement goals for every objectiveand ensure that the vision is shared.
Thesecond component of Organizational learning capabilities is theOrganizational culture, which underlines a shared value that is setand is responsible for the enhancement of comprehension of theorganization’s functionality. Organizational culture comes in handyin guiding the thought patterns and shaping the behavior of theemployees in both the short-term and the long-term (Walling, 2014).There are four types of cultures that an organization can adoptincluding achievement culture, support culture, power culture androle culture. Of course the cultures are entirely different from acountry to the other. Nevertheless, scholars have affirmed that theset vision of the organization has to acknowledge the communicationsystem and Organizational structures as it assists in thefacilitation of decision-making via the mutually-dependent learningby the staff (Nelson & Winter, 2002). In this regard,organizational culture provides the elements of growth andappreciation of positive action in the Organizational system.
Thethird component of Organizational learning capability is teamworkcooperation. Powerful working teams enhance the productivity of theemployees’ knowledge and skills especially with regard to solvingthe problems that the organization is facing, as well as thedevelopment of innovative ideas that would be beneficial for thebusiness entity (De Faria et al, 2010). For the team spirit to beenhanced, it is imperative that the employees are grouped or work asone even as they are in varied functional areas (Senge, 1990). On thesame note, the a cross-functional teamwork environment allows for thereduction of the “stove-pipe” syndrome every time there is adeliberate rotation of employees in the varied teams as a componentof human resources management policy or career development program.It is only in instances where there is proper and sufficient teamworkin the organization that learning can take place as it supportscommitment to a shared vision, open-mindedness, as well as learning.
Theother component of Organizational learning capability is transfer ofknowledge, where scholars acknowledge that the cognitive isrestricted to the storage and processing of information in the humanbody. Individuals’ knowledge and skill becomes perfectly known whenit is transferred from one person to the other (Senge, 1990). Thisbecomes even more evident in the organization when the acquisitionand transfer of skills is undertaken so as to allow for themanagement and solving of problems. Transfer knowledge alsoencompasses learning from past failures in the organization, as wellas sharing with other members of staff regarding effective andefficient experiences and practices (Nelson & Winter, 2002). Theprocess of knowledge transfer is also enhanced through theincorporation of benchmarking activities that come in handy inallowing for the persistent learning and improvement of themanagement processes within the organization.
Onthe same note, organizational learning capability must incorporateknowledge performance, which is the capacity of an individual,organization and team to comprehend the lessons learnt. Scholars haveunderlined the fact that the culture, traditions, operations,technology, procedures and systems of a particular organization arefounded on expertise and knowledge (Damanpour & Aravind, 2000).Sustainable knowledge incorporates four subsystems includingtransfer, storage, acquisition and creation. Knowledge management iscrucial and is at the center of organizational learning.
Similarly,scholars have examined the connection between organizational learningcapability, innovation and competitive advantage. It has beenacknowledged that business entities create competitive advantagethrough the conception of new ways of doing things within the valuechain for the delivery of superior value to consumers. Thisunderlines the close interconnection between innovation and processesof competitive advantage, as well as the fact that organizationalinnovation comes as a fundamental strategic option for gainingcompetitive advantage. Business entities would have a better way ofcarrying out the activities pertaining to the value chain only viaenhanced learning (Roth, 2009). Of particular note is the fact thatthere exists two levels of learning that result in organizationalchange including generative learning and adaptive learning.Generative learning takes place in instances where business entitiesare willing to question the dominant assumptions pertaining to theirstrategy, competitors, customers, customers and mission. It revolvesaround the modification of the knowledge base of the firm, the firmspecific routines and capabilities (Tatikonda & Montoya-Weiss,2001). This form of learning is also seen as analogous to theintellectual skills of the firm. The comprehension of theorganizational processes that result in generative learningnecessitates that organizational learning efforts are coupled withentrepreneurship.
Organizationallearning capability has been associated with emotional intelligenceand job satisfaction. Emotional intelligence, in this case,underlines, the capacity of an individual to monitor his and otherpeople’s emotions, distinguish between them and utilize theinformation as a guideline to his or her thoughts and actions. Alarge proportion of mental ability models concentrate on aptitude inthe processing of affective information, where emotional intelligenceis perceived as a conceptually related and well defined collection ofcognitive capabilities for processing emotional information and thecontrol of emotion in an adaptive manner (Totterdell et al, 2002).Emotional intelligence is deemed to have a positive relationship withorganizational learning capability. Research has well demonstratedthat emotional intelligence affect varied work behaviors of anindividual including customer loyalty, service quality, employeecommitment, talent development and innovation (Roth, 2009).Individuals that have high levels of emotional intelligence usuallyexperience more career success and built strong personalrelationships while leading their entities in a more effectivemanner. This may be explained by the fact that individuals that aremore emotionally intelligent may presumably be more successful in thecommunication of their intensions, ideas and goals in more assertiveand interesting ways. In addition, emotional intelligence has beenassociated with social skills that are necessary for teamwork(Totterdell et al, 2002). Further, organizational or business leaderswho incorporate high levels of emotional intelligence may impact therelationships in the work setting thereby affecting the individualand group emotional intelligence, as well as organizationalcommitment (Roth, 2009). Lastly, emotional intelligence has beendeemed as having an impact on the capacity of an individual tosucceed in coping with varied environmental pressures and demands,which is a crucial collection of behaviors that may be harnessedunder stressful conditions of work. Underlining the importance oforganizational learning capability in enhancing job satisfaction isthe fact that individuals who are emotionally intelligent usuallywork in conditions that propitiate their social and emotionalabilities and, as a consequence, have a higher likelihood of beingmore satisfied with their jobs (Totterdell et al, 2002). In essence,organizational learning capability may be perceived as a stimulatingworking context in which individuals who are emotionally intelligentwould develop their competence and attain satisfaction. It isnoteworthy that the positive relationship would only be achieved ininstances where individuals with well developed emotionalcapabilities manage to recognize, as well as resist coverts attemptsby the management to control their affective lives via normativecontrol systems.
Similarly,organizational learning is seemed to have a mediating function on therelationship between entrepreneurial orientation and innovationperformance. There exists a positive relationship betweenentrepreneurial orientation and innovation performance. However, thisrelationship should not be deemed to be a direct one rather it isdependent or conditional on organizational learning capability orrather the organizational factors that enhance the learning processin an entity. Of course, entrepreneurial orientation is perceived asa strategic posture that has to be supported by particularorganizational conditions that allow for or facilitate learning andhas a positive effect on performance (Nguyen & Mothe, 2008). Onthe same note, entrepreneurial orientation is a representation of themanagerial foundation pertaining to organizational learning as itoffers learning values such as experimentation, teamwork anddialogue. Organizational learning comes as a fundamental element ofinnovation given that the development of new concepts and ideas isseen as crucial to the development of new processes and products(Nguyen & Mothe, 2008). Entrepreneurship, which is a managementattitude, would have little direct impact on the organization’sinnovation performance in instances where the human resources andorganizational resources are incapable and unwilling to adhere to theapproach. Organizational learning and the factors that allow for thesame can partially mediate the association between entrepreneurialorientation and innovation performance through the extension of theattitude to other parts of the organization (Nguyen & Mothe,2008). Business entities that have strong entrepreneurial orientationare likely to be more aggressive in entering new markets and eventake up greater risks that necessitate coping with more complex anddynamic environments.
Thereare varied sources of knowledge from which organizations acquireknowledge. Indeed, business entities may create or generate knowledgeinternally or from the external environment. A large number oforganizations are dependent on the two processes or orientations indifferent magnitudes (Tatikonda & Montoya-Weiss, 2001).Nevertheless, scholars have underlined the necessity for maintainingan appropriate balance between the internally focused and externallyfocused learning so as to attain generative learning. Nevertheless,the two learning efforts compete for the scarce resources of thefirm, in which case business entities make implicit and explicitchoices between the two (Tatikonda & Montoya-Weiss, 2001). Thisunderlines the magnitude by which business entities have learningcapabilities from internal and external sources may be dependent onthe strategic choices for learning as created by the firm.
Further,the magnitude or extent of innovation is a reflection of the newknowledge that is incorporated in the innovation. Single looplearning has been linked to incremental innovations while double-looplearning has been linked to radical or discontinuous innovations.Incremental and radical innovations revolve around the distinctionsthat are made along a theoretical continuum pertaining to the levelof new knowledge that is incorporated in a particular innovation(Tatikonda & Montoya-Weiss, 2001). Essentially, radicalinnovations underline the notion that a business entity itundertaking or taking part in generative learning levels, which isseen as the highest organizational learning level.
Researchhas also suggested that there exists a positive relationship betweenthe entrepreneurship and a business entity’s growth orientedefforts. Innovativeness is seen as a corporate environment thatfosters and supports experimentation, novel ideas, as well ascreative processes that can result in new technologies, techniquesand products. Some models have suggested that entrepreneurial firmsdemonstrate risk-taking, pro-activeness and innovativeness in thestrategic decision-making. Risk-taking, in this case, would underlinethe capacity or propensity of a business entity to dedicate itsresources to projects that have a substantial chance for high returnsas well as possibility for failure (Frenz & Ietto-Gillies, 2009).On the other hand, pro-activeness underlines the concept of taking aninitiative, pursuing ventures, as well as remaining at the frontlinein efforts that would determine or shape the environment in a mannerthat would be beneficial to the firm. It is associated to theaggressive posturing of a business entity in relation to thecompetitors, with focus or emphasis being placed on the execution andthe following up of tasks as the objectives and goals of the firm arepursued.
Asnoted, there are variations between internally and externally focusedlearning capabilities. Scholars have acknowledged that internallyfocused learning capabilities are a reflection of the ability of abusiness entity to generate or create non-technical and technicalknowledge via internal sources (Svetina & Prodan, 2008). It hasbeen acknowledged that research and development comes off as astrategic search process that has the objective of creatingcumulative technological and non-technical advances (Frenz &Ietto-Gillies, 2009). Internally focused learning abilities are seenas the abilities of a business entity to come up with technologicaland non-technical knowledge via internal sources, as well asdisseminate, unlearn, and even utilize the knowledge to effectorganizational change (Svetina & Prodan, 2008). It is alsoimperative that one examines the relational learning capability ofthe firm, which is a reflection of the ability of the business entityto exploit the external knowledge sources. A large proportion ofinnovations are derived from borrowing instead of invention.
Networkingor collaborative linkages enhance the likelihood for an organizationto create innovations (Gera & Gu, 2004). Indeed, there is anincreasing volume of research that underlines the fact thatinter-organizational connections enhance the innovative capabilitiesof business entities through the provision of opportunities for thetransfer of both technical and non0-technical knowledge, resourceexchange, legitimacy and shared learning (Gera & Gu, 2004). Theexploitation of external knowledge sources, therefore, becomes animportant part of innovation, as well as a source of competitiveadvantage.
Nevertheless,there are varied barriers that inhabit the prospects oforganizational learning capabilities. One of the key barriers toorganizational learning in any business entity is the resistance andstubbornness to change. This is particularly where the change orinnovation involves a modification of the positions and jobs of theindividuals in the organization (Frenz & Ietto-Gillies, 2009). Inthe case of older companies, there may be immense problem especiallywhere older career people working in the business entity feel thatthey know how to carry out their tasks and, therefore, should nothave some younger employees telling them how they should do it(Landry & Amara, 2001). Scholars acknowledge that the mentalitycannot be avoided, as all people are vulnerable or prone to it, inwhich case it is the most severe and first barrier that businessentities have to overcome (Frenz & Ietto-Gillies, 2009).Overcoming this barrier necessitates that managers make an effort towin over the employees and ensure that they comprehend the benefitsthat they will reap from the implementation of the innovation.
Further,the implementation of the innovation may be hindered by theshort-term focus of the business entity or its managers. More oftenthan not, businesses and their managers focus on the short-term goalsparticularly with regard to the profits, deadlines and other goals.This may be problematic given that the organization needs to alwaysfocus on the bigger picture for all the parties and stakeholdersinvolved (Svetina & Prodan, 2008).
Similarly,there may be a problem with the level of control that is exerted inthe business entity. As much as proper organizational and planningout comes in handy in safeguarding the existence of the businessentity, leaders and managers often unintentionally abuse graphs andcharts among other objects in planning out the organizationallearning like other procedures (Landry & Amara, 2001). Scholarshave acknowledged that human beings or rather employees are the maindrivers of organizational learning capabilities, in which case theextreme formalization of every element of learning may be detrimentalto learning (Frenz & Ietto-Gillies, 2009). The main issue withthis is the fact that the individuals involved will be frustrated,while the act of plotting and charting every form of lesson has thecapacity to take on its own course (Svetina & Prodan, 2008). Inessence, it is imperative that organizational learning is allowed totake place in the simplest way possible.
Roleof Technological Infrastructure in Organizational Innovation
Theend of the 20thcentury and the advent of the 21stcentury has seen an unprecedented obsession with the improvement andtransformation of organizations. Indeed, conventional bureaucraticforms have essentially been seen as competitive liabilities, withproposals for entirely new radical forms appearing or coming up withstriking regularity (Svetina & Prodan, 2008). A large number oftheoretical arguments predispose the current proposals pertaining toorganizational reform with economists underlining the superiority ofmarkets over hierarchies, behaviorists underlining the need forrenewal via knowledge management and organizational learning, whiletechnologists advocate for process-centered virtual business entitiesthat are enabled by information technologies (Frenz &Ietto-Gillies, 2009). As much as the popularity of the differentapproaches is rapidly changing, the parallel interests inorganizational learning and information technology have beensustained in the last several decades.
Fora large number of people, organizational learning provides ahumanistic and optimistic antidote to the problems that plagueorganizations as they strive with the change from industrial age toinformation age (Svetina & Prodan, 2008). Organizational learninglays emphasis on teamwork, communication, managerial vision andleadership within human systems.
Atthe heart of innovation in any business entity in the contemporaryhuman society is technology. Indeed, innovation is more often thannot viewed within the spectrum of technology, especially as far astechnical innovation is concerned. However, it should be noted thatinnovation is not exclusive to technical elements of a businessentity, rather service firms can also innovate (Damanpour et al,2009). Scholars have acknowledged that service firms have beenresponsible for an immense component of GDP across the globe, withthe trend indicating that its role is increasing within thedeveloping countries (Landry & Amara, 2001). There are variedroles that technology plays in the non-technical innovation (Walling,2014). First, technology has been playing a key role as a majorsource of innovation, particularly given the fact that it is enablingand facilitating creativity in the service firms. This comes outclearly in the case of computers and the internet which allowsindividuals in the workplace to share ideas and research on variedissues that may be plaguing the company at any given time, therebyenabling them to come up with customized solutions for the problemsthat they may be encountering in the workplace (Landry & Amara,2001).
Inaddition, technology comes in handy in allowing for successfultesting of an innovation through simulation so as to determine theareas where there may be loopholes. This is particularly the case ininstances where the marketers need to determine the efficacy andviability of a business idea (Argyris & Schön, 2008). The onlyviable way of examining and testing it before real-life applicationwould be to have it simulated.
However,there are variations in the manner in which technology is used insmall firms and big firms. Scholars have noted that as much as allcompanies aim at using technology in creating a competitiveadvantage, there are variations in the manner in which this isachieved for small firms and big firms (Walker et al, 2010). In smallfirms, the competitive advantage is usually created throughstreamlining the production process, the introduction of novelproducts or technology processes that entice new customers (Walker etal, 2010). While big firms can do this as well, there is always thelikelihood that they will create the competitive advantage throughthe creation of barriers that would hinder rivals from getting intothe market or even changing the rules of competition within theirrespective industry (Foss et al, 2011).
Asmuch as the connection between organizational learning andinformation technology has only recently started being explored,there have emerged two interconnected research streams. First, thereis the stream that perceives organizational learning as a way forresolving and explaining problems pertaining to the implementationand usage of new information technology within business entities(Laursen, 2011). The approach was based on the understanding of thecrucial nature of organizational learning to the overcoming ofimplementation problems. While this approach may have had anauthoritative appeal, business entities have persistently beenstruggling on a regular basis in their efforts to effectively utilizenew technologies (Foss et al, 2011). In essence, research thatexplores the manner in which business entities learn to effectivelyutilize information technology has likelihood for contributing in theresolution of such problems or issues. The second approach toresearch has come up with information technology applications thatsupport processes pertaining to knowledge management andorganizational learning (Foss et al, 2011). For instance,technologies such as best-practice databases, expert systems and datawarehousing, as well as intranet and internet systems have thepotential for incorporating valuable resources for organizationalmemory, while the wide-band and groupware communication networks canfacilitate the usage of and access to the memory (Hanvanich et al,2006). This underlines the potentially crucial nature of informationtechnology as an ingredient in the crafting and design of learningorganizations through the provision of infrastructure for accessing,storing, as well as revised varied elements pertaining toorganizational memory.
Whilethese streams are pursued autonomously, they have a close conceptuallink. Indeed, scholars have acknowledged that prior to the leveragingof information technology to allow for organizational learning in abusiness entity, it is imperative that appropriate technologies areimplemented and used (Hanvanich et al, 2006). It is ironical,however, that the successful development and implementation oftechnologies that allow for organizational learning would bedependent on the present capacity of the business entity’s presentability to learn. In essence, business entities that alreadydemonstrate or display learning capabilities would have a far mucheasier time in enhancing their capacity to learn since they have ahigher likelihood for experimenting and seeking out new technologies.On the other hand, business entities that are in desperate need fordeveloping and implementing learning capacity would be likely to havea difficult time implementing the necessary technologies (Hanvanichet al, 2006).
Theconcept of organizational learning is based in the consideration orthe perception that business entities are cognitive entities thathave the capacity to observe their actions, take part in experimentsso as to determine the effects of other courses of actions, as wellas modifying or changing their actions so as to enhance performance(Laursen, 2011). Organizational improvement relies on the revision oforganizational memory, which underlines the understandings thatmembers of organizations share particularly the cognitive maps thatlink the actions of organizations to their outcomes (Nasution et al,2011). It should be noted, however, that in instances where theorganizational memory is already well in place, the residual memorycould impede new learning unless there exists established values ornorms pertaining to change and experimentation (Carpenter,2012).Modifications in the organizational memory would never be achievedthrough the simple exchange or replacement of old knowledge for newone since there exists immense difficulty in organizations unlearningthe things of which they are already aware. Further, organizationalmemory can be distributed widely across a complex web of external andinternal connections or linkages involving technologies and humans(Carpenter,2012).The distribution of memory would increase the difficulty pertainingto locating, as well as exchanging particular aspects oforganizational memory.
Asnoted, some researchers have sought to comprehend the manner in whichtechnology is implemented and used in organizations usingorganizational learning. This inquiry is based on the acknowledgementof the fact that there are numerous instances where informationtechnology causes disappointing results such as dissatisfied users,low payoffs, financial losses, as well as inability to enhance theeffectiveness of the organization (Nasution et al, 2011). Ofparticular note, however, is the fact that these failures are notuniformly experienced with numerous studies demonstrating sharplycontrasting consequences that comparable organizations experiencewhile implementing the same technologies (Aulich, 2003). In essence,the organization’s relative capability to learn on how thesetechnologies can be used would be a way for explaining thesedifferences. Business entities learn to effectively implementinformation technologies on basis or under the guidance of their ownexperience (Nasution et al, 2011). Research has demonstrated thecrucial nature of experience with the technologies similar to thosethat are being adopted in the current times. Researchers undertook asurvey examining the manner in which the experiences of the managerswith certain strategic information technology affected theirinterpretation of the new systems and applications (Nasution et al,2011). It was demonstrated that managers that had more favorableexperiences with the information technology often interpreted the newinformation technologies as chances or opportunities and incorporatedhigher expectations for increase in profits and enhancedeffectiveness from their utilization. The results underline theimportance of the prior experience of managers in makinginterpretations or predicting their receptivity to the innovativeforms of information technologies (Aulich, 2003). In essence, theretrospective interpretations may underline the conclusion that theexperience of an organization with information technology would alsoaffect the success in implementation of the same or theorganizational learning in the future.
However,there exists a major problem with experience as the basis fortechnological innovation. Scholars have noted that older experienceis disproportionately powerful to the extent that in instances wherea certain technology is successful, business entities may continueusing it long after it has become ineffective (Nasution et al, 2011).This competency trap takes place in cases where favorable performanceof a particular technology or procedure causes an organization toaccumulate considerably more experience with it, thereby hinderingthe utilization of other technologies or procedures that may be moreeffective (Aulich, 2003). In a large number of cases, the oldexperiences may have become such a fundamental component oforganizational memory to the extent that it is extremely difficultfor new experiences to modify the contours pertaining toorganizational action (Nasution et al, 2011). As much as knowledgethat is acquired via experience would always form the basis forfuture action, some of the older knowledge may be rendered irrelevantto contemporary problems, in which case they could be creatingbarriers to acquisition of considerably more relevant knowledge thatis founded on more relevant and recent experience (Nasution et al,2011).
Similarly,there has been immense attention to the approach where informationtechnology is designed to enable or facilitate organizationallearning. Indeed, a large proportion of research on organizationallearning and information technology has been seeking to direct theapplication or implementation of technologies that allow fororganizational learning (Gera & Gu, 2004). Such research supportsconventional prescriptions pertaining to designing learningorganizations through the provision of advanced technologies thatwould improve the organizational memory and facilitate discourse andcommunication among individuals in the organization (Camisón& Villar-López, 2010).As much as these functions may be carried out without the supportingapplications pertaining to information technology, it is evident thattechnology in itself may enable these functions to be carried out ina more effective manner. Research, on the other hand, hasdemonstrated that information technologies may unintentionally hinderorganizational learning through the induction of dependence on formaland inflexible systems.
Asstated earlier, there are some systems whose design allows them toenhance organizational learning. Organizational learning is a broadconcept that revolves around a wide range of types of knowledge.Scholars have outlined varied bins in which contents oforganizational memory are stored including ecology, structures,culture, transformations, and individual (Camisón& Villar-López, 2010).Given the immense capabilities that it incorporates, informationtechnology seems to have an larger potential or capability forsupporting organizational learning via retrieval, capture, storageand representation of structured data, models, images, texts anddiagrams in electronic databases (Camisón& Villar-López, 2010).This organizational memory information system would more effectivelyfacilitate organizational memory compared to systems that are notentirely designed for that role. In the research literature hasaddressed three elements in such systems’ design including theconceptual design, representation of knowledge, as well as theretrieval and use of the same (Frenz & Ietto-Gillies, 2009).
Researchpertaining to the conceptual design of organizational memoryinformation systems breaks the organizational memory into the relatedsubprocesses. Scholars have outlined the processes of retrieval,retention, acquisition, search and maintenance as mnemonic functionsthat make the basis or foundation of the system (Frenz &Ietto-Gillies, 2009). The connection between functions and theirrelationship to the storage repositories make up the conceptualdesign, which may then be facilitated through certain application orimplementation of information technology (Camisón& Villar-López, 2010).However, it should be noted that varying situations may necessitatevarying organizational memory systems, in which case a specializedmodeling methodology. In knowledge representation, it is knowledgethat the design could incorporate easy coupling and flexible captureof structured and unstructured data. The data may include theinformation represented, the manner in which the information iscreated, the stakeholders that played fundamental roles in itsutilization, creation and maintenance, the time in which theinformation was modified, captured or evolved, areas ofrepresentation, as well as information on why particular memorycomponents were created (Camisón& Villar-López, 2010).Formal models pertaining to unstructured data may also be maintainedso as to allow for easy access to the components and allow forautomated reasoning with regard to the characteristics. The creationof equal global access to rich types of product knowledge comes inhandy in enhancing the quality of knowledge representations,enhancing the strength of the corporate knowledge nexus, as well aseffectively passing complex technical knowledge across the globalorganization. The creation or development of the virtual nexus forvisual knowledge representation offers universal access tosophisticated technical knowledge pertaining to the products of thecompany (Camisón& Villar-López, 2010).With regard to the retrieval and utilization, systems have beendesigned in a way that allow for direct retrieval and utilization ofdata in the organizational memory without any intervention or inputfrom human beings. In order to support or facilitate retrieval ofinformation, the structure can be created through the isolation oftasks in which the data formats are reasonably manageable andpredictable.
Stillin enabling data organizational memory, systems may be used insupporting communication and discourse (Camisón& Villar-López, 2010).The improvement or facilitation of the organizational memory viasupporting information technologies would not directly compose acrucial element of organizational learning. Needless to say,communication among individuals is crucial to organizational learningsince members have to both make a contribution to and even share thecontents that are stored in the varied memory bins, as well ascommunicate so as to subject the current memory to experiential testsand scrutiny (Camisón& Villar-López, 2010).The application of information technology that is designed expresslyfor the purposes may incorporate some group support systems and evenmore advanced types of collaborative tools that facilitateorganization-wide discourse. The systems can facilitateorganizational learning through the provision of communication linksamong members, as well as through the storage of historical decisionsrecords. As individuals become more knowledgeable about the knowledgethat is incorporated in the electronic archives, there would be thecreation of more usable organizational memory (Hanvanich et al,2006). Through the promotion of discourse, the applications enhancethe information space of the organization where a higher number ofpeople even in remote locations would have the capacity to contributeto, as well as draw from the common or shared organizational memory.There are variations in the systems that support discourse andcommunication from the ordinary group support systems. Scholars havemade a difference between systems that facilitate group processes andthe systems that facilitate organizational learning (Hanvanich et al,2006). The organizational learning systems incorporate features thatwould automatically detect, as well as surface conflicts anddisagreements in strategic decision models. For example, someinformation systems incorporate specialized knowledge base thatreceives and responds to the structured queries of managers andcatalogues the conclusions and decisions of the users (Damanpour etal, 2009). Managers that undertake an assessment of similar externalinformation would have the system cross-assess their evaluations,thereby allowing for the identification of consensus and conflict.Once a conflict has been identified, the system would invite anelectronic meeting among the managers with varying interpretationsand motivates or stimulates them to have a discussion on the varyingassessments, as well as communicate their differences (Nasution etal, 2011). In essence, the system would facilitate organizationallearning through the collection of structured data, automation ofdata retrieval and the facilitation of communication so as toestablish new data interpretations (Cassiman &Veugelers, 2002).Notions pertaining to distributed or shared cognition direct recentresearch on design of systems so as to support communication anddiscourse (Damanpour et al, 2009). These systems offer a bridge orconnection between individual and organizational learning. A case inpoint is in instances where the systems support organizationallearning through enabling people to make proper representation oftheir comprehension, undertake a reflection of the representationsand even dialogue about the same with other people, after which theywould use the representations to direct their course of action. Inthis case, users would be capable of representing theirinterpretations as cognitive maps that would accommodate tabular andtextual data (Nasution et al, 2011). Similarly, systems would supportor facilitate the interpretation of similar problems in numerous ormultiple ways, thereby allowing users to reconcile theinterpretations that they make of the situations with theinterpretations that other members of the organization make in thesame.
Asmuch as group support systems are designed in such a way that theywould enable organizational learning through the support ofdistributed cognition and common or shared comprehension, variedstudies have indicated that in reality, these systems have differentinterpretations and meanings in varying parts of the business entity(Gera & Gu, 2004). Given that the interpretations of technologythat is designed to facilitate discourse and communication aredifferent within business entities, the utilizations of suchtechnologies would be unlikely to cause a uniformly sharedorganizational memory (Nasution et al, 2011). Nevertheless, theprovision of a vehicle or medium of communication regarding thedifferences, these collaborative technologies could supportdiscussions and debates that allow for the surfacing of assumptionsand the proposition of alternative ideas and courses of action.Similarly, the support of discourse that emanates in varying framesof reference allows the technologies to facilitate organizationallearning process. It should be noted, however, that they would notnecessarily result in enhanced collaboration given that they may notbe fitting to the expectations of the members or the organizationalnorms (Nasution et al, 2011).
However,there are instances where technology can hinder or stand in the wayof organizational learning (Argyris, 2009). Indeed, studies haveunderlined the fact that organizations or business entities canbecome overly reliant on the formal systems and, therefore, fail toappreciate the less formal representations pertaining toorganizational memory such as the experience of employees who haveserved the business entity for long periods of time (Argyris, 2009).Researchers particularly acknowledge that the deeper the intelligentroutines become components of computer systems, the less thepotential or likelihood that they would be assessed or monitored andrevised in instances where the business entity needs to change. Inessence, information technology can stand in the way oforganizational learning can support relatively rigid systems thatcannot be changed or that are not adaptable to the changingconditions that are being used (Damanpour et al, 2009). There havebeen instances where companies incorporate information technologywith the aim of enhancing flexibility and learning. Initially, thesystems offer competitive advantage through the automation of crucialmanagerial functions and allowing for radical changes in thestructure of the organizations. However, as time goes by, the firmshad a decline in their market shares, an aspect that was explained inthe statement that the information systems eventually replaced peoplewhose duties included evaluating the environment so as to detect anyregulatory or market changes (Damanpour et al, 2009). As much as theinformation technology ably processed structured information in thesame way that it always had, the systems offered no capacity orchance for obtaining and gathering the unstructured information. Inthis cases, the organizations or business entities were not aware ofthat it was necessary to change the systems and practices that hadsupported them. A similar pattern was also seen in the automation ofan energy-auditing process (Argyris, 2009). The formalization of thetasks of producing or generating audit reports allowed informationtechnology to get rid of or eliminate the need for users to haveperfect knowledge regarding carrying out an audit report. Thisknowledge was substituted for the comprehension of manner in whichinformation systems are manipulated to produce the desired results inspite of the technology (Frenz & Ietto-Gillies, 2009). Similarobservations were made in the study of CASE tools that were utilizedin systems consulting. The tools were a form of organizational memorythat resulted in the standardization of the work processes pertainingto system developers into simple routines (Cassiman &Veugelers,2002). As much as this was aimed at the enhancement of theeffectiveness of consultants through the embedment of rules in thesoftware, CASE tools were also seen to produce or generate a “trainedincapacity” to carry out systems consulting in other ways (Argyris,2009). Essentially, information technology hinders organizationallearning through the induction of actors to forget the things thatthey already knew and through failing to signal the requiredmodifications in the technical systems that support their tasks. Asmuch as the embedment of processes in automated systems may disableorganizational learning, the undesirable effects may be mitigated(Cassiman &Veugelers, 2002). Scholars came up with the white-boxapproach which is aimed at counteracting the negative impacts offreezing knowledge pertaining to the work domains in inaccessiblesoftware routines (Argyris, 2009). The approach underlines or laysemphasis on the notion of generating or creating application that aretransparent to users rather than burying knowledge in inaccessibleboxes (Argyris, 2009). In essence, the human agents can view thelogical structure via graphic interface that display the context ofevery function in the overall process, thereby allowing for theinspection of data sources and logic that technologies employ. Thiswould allow for the auditing of organizational memory that isincorporated in the software prior to its acceptance as thefoundation or basis for organizational decisions.
Inessence, technology can enhance organizational learning or hinder itdepending on the manner in which it is incorporated or embedded inthe organizational structure. Information technologies, for instance,enhance the organizational learning through enhancing the capacity ofmembers to communicate, as well as supporting discourse among them(Easterby-Smith, 2001). This process would be advantageous to theorganization through enhancing access to organizational memory forindividuals in the business entity particularly in instances wherethey are in remote locations, as well as increasing the opportunityfor testing and challenging the current routines and assumptions thatare made in the business entity. It should be noted that supportingdiscourse would not simply mean the provision of electronic access tocentralized organizational memory rather it would also entail thegeneration of new organizational knowledge via the discourse.Research has demonstrated that collaborative systems have varyingsubject to the organizational context within which they are used(Easterby-Smith, 2001). In essence, users that operate varyingcontexts have a high likelihood for drawing varying meanings from thecentralized information bins (Easterby-Smith, 2001). It is also notedthat systems that facilitate organizational learning through theincorporation or embedment of routines in the memory and the storageof historical information would be useful to the business entity aslong as the assumptions on which they have been founded are stillrelevant and have not become obsolete. In instances where there is amodification of business conditions, the technologies can constrainor restrict the search for and incorporation of new information, aswell as hide the logic that predisposes the intelligent routines(Easterby-Smith, 2001). Essentially, information technology canincrease the ability of business entities to learn and, at the sametime, the learning capacity can have a bearing on the extent to whichthe new technologies are adopted, as well as effectively put to use.Scholars note that that the most optimistic scenarios would involvethe two effects reinforcing each other with the capacity to learnincreasing steadily via enhanced adoption and utilization oftechnology (Nasution et al, 2011). For a large number of businessentities, the learning capacity cannot be enhanced as a result of thedifficulties that exist in the adoption and utilization ofinformation technology. As a consequence, a large number oforganizations can experience persistent difficulty in the adoption oftechnologies that are needed so as to compete in the dynamic businessenvironments (Nasution et al, 2011).
However,it is also imperative that one pays attention to the manner in whichthe technologies are adopted into the routines of business entities.Indeed, the capacity of any form of technology to have a positiveimpact on organizational learning is, with no doubt, dependent on theacceptance of the same by the employees in that business entity.Indeed, there are numerous cases where technologies are resisted byemployees in spite of the potential positive effects to the businessentity (Damanpour et al, 2009). This may be caused by the manner inwhich the technology is introduced into the organization. Researchersnote that employees often prefer to learn the varied aspectspertaining to the utilization of information technology from theirclose colleagues who have perfect comprehension of the relevantdetails pertaining to the tasks as practiced (Easterby-Smith, 2001).The situational learning is based on the comprehension of the factthat learning is an inseparable and integral component of socialpractice. In essence, information technology users have a highlikelihood for learning about the new technologies via leaningsituated in their work structures instead of learning through formaltraining programs. Since work practice is fundamentally differentfrom the manner in which organizations outline their operations intraining programs and manuals, situated learning is a crucialconsequential process (Damanpour et al, 2009).
Effectsof learning capability on the management and the marketingperformance of the organization as they are the main parts ofnon-technical innovation
Moreoften than not, it is recognized that learning capability would beprimarily affected or driven by the form of management thatindividuals in a particular entity adopt. However, scholars haveunderlined the notion that there exists a symbiotic relationshipbetween the two, with learning capability affecting the managementjust as much as the management affects learning capability(Easterby-Smith, 2001). Nevertheless, it is acknowledged thatlearning capability often has a positive impact on the marketingperformance. Indeed, learning capability involves the comprehensionof facts and data that is provided regarding a particular market, aswell as using it in enhancing the performance of the organization inboth the long-term and the short-term (Martin, 2005). In essence,learning capability would allow for proper sharing of information sothat effective and accurate decisions can be made in the organizationwith regard to the marketing. In addition, learning capability allowsfor the determination of the strategies that would or would not workin an organization, whether in the short-term or the long-term. Itmay be acknowledged that every sector has specific strategies thathave been tested, tried and found to be effective (Martin, 2005).Having perfect knowledge about the strategies would not be enough forthe organization, rather it is imperative that that knowledge is putto good use and its dissemination enhanced (Hedberg, 1981). A largeproportion of companies have already established or at leastimplemented some components of the innovation that a business entitycomes up with, in which case it is imperative that the businessentity learns from them to prevent making similar mistakes.
Essentially,it means that learning capability would enhance the performance ofmarketing in the long-term (Roth, 2009). Business entities would havethe capacity to share information and knowledge about the facts onthe strategies that have been adopted, thereby enabling them to makeproper decisions regarding the appropriateness of the strategies inthe long-term. This is all aimed at ensuring that decisions made inthe organization would be effective in safeguarding the bottom-lineof the organization in both the long-term and the short-term (Roth,2009).
Still,learning capability has a positive effect on management. It isacknowledged that the learning capability of a business entitynecessitates that there be complementarity and collaboration betweenthe management and employees, as well as between the employeesthemselves (Tran, 1999). This collaboration allows for the creationof proper environment for teamwork in the organization. This meansthat the workers or employees would feel much more properly versedwith the culture of sharing within the business entity and,therefore, ensure that they participate in the enhancement of thefunctionality of the business entity (Tran, 1999). This means thatthe management performance would be enhanced in the long-term as theemployees collaborate much more with the managers in solving theproblems that come up. Of course, this means that they would own themission and vision of the company much more, enhances performance inthe long-term.
Indetermining the effects of learning on non-technical innovationthrough its effects on organizational and marketing performance, itis imperative that one determines what is meant by the organizationaland marketing innovations. Marketing innovations revolve around theimplementation of new techniques of marketing that would involve asignificant modification in the design, packaging, placement, pricingand promotion of the products that emanate from the business entity(Gera & Gu, 2004). On the other hand, organizational innovationunderlines the implementation of new organizational techniques in thebusiness practices, external relations and workplace organization ofa firm or business entity. With regard to organizational innovation,a close connection to process innovation is possible since theintroduction of new technologies in the distribution and productionhas the capacity to necessitate the reorganization of businessroutines, which can stimulate the introduction of entirely neworganizational models and new business practices (Gera & Gu,2004). Underlining the need for organizational learning capability inthe marketing performance is the notion that business ororganizational innovation may take place during product innovations,for instance in cases where new products trigger the establishment ofnew sales and production divisions or demands the reorganization ofexternal relations, knowledge management and workflows (Gera &Gu, 2004). It has been acknowledged that new products necessitate newmarketing techniques and urge for the introduction of new ways forthe same (Gera & Gu, 2004). Of course, the new marketing conceptsmay be a reflection of an integral component of the innovativeeffort. In essence, the implementation of non-technical innovationdoes not start with the creation of the innovation but rathercontinues being incorporated and new ways of doing things in a mannerthat would be compatible with the innovations thereby implemented(Gera & Gu, 2004). Of course, this means that the successfulimplementation of the non-technical innovation would be dependent onthe ability of the employees to perfectly learn about the new waysand internalize them or customize them to their specific workplacesor within their divisions so as to come up with the appropriatecombination or mix for the organization. This underlines theimportance of learning capability as far as the enhancement of theorganizational and marketing performance is concerned.
Similarly,it should be acknowledged that the adaptation of the non-technicalinnovation necessitates proper comprehension of the current marketingand organizational structures of the business entity.
Whilethere may be varying opinions, it has been acknowledged that learningcapability comes as a fundamental resource as far as the enhancementof the organizational performance since business entities that havethe ability to learn fast have a high likelihood for coming up witheffective responses to the market challenges in a more appropriateway compared to the competitors. Scholars have acknowledged that theperformance of any business entity incorporates both marketperformance and organizational performance (Belderbos et al, 2004).It is imperative that one distinguishes these two elements so as mapout the effect that organizational learning has on the entity. Marketperformance underlines a measurement system that covers every otherelement of the performance of the business entity in the marketplace. Organizational performance, on the other hand, underlines anemployee or internal-focused performance.
Scholarshave acknowledged that the organizational learning benefits areexpected to be manifested and incorporated in the services and goodsthat are offered, where tests pertaining to customer value would beundertaken in the marketplace, using the reactions of the customers(Laursen, 2011). Given that the survival and competitiveness of abusiness entity in the market is dependent on the reaction ofcustomers, it is imperative that the link between learningcapabilities and organizational performance are examined (Calantoneet al, 2002). However, a large proportion of empirical studiespertaining to learning capabilities have focused on organizationalperformance outcomes apart from market-based performance outcomes(Calantone et al, 2002). It should be noted, however, that asbusiness entities learn to make sense of the markets, themarket-based information like customer-based behaviors, would beexpected to establish or generate outcomes that would be manifestedin the marketing performance of the business entity (Laursen, 2011).Scholars note that the reaction of consumers regarding the mostappropriate way an improvement would be successful needs to be soughtif the organizational learning capability is expected to have animpact on the marketing performance particularly at the consumerlevel (Calantone et al, 2002). Similarly, according to theinstitutional theory, the rate at which a business entity learnswould have to be better compared to that of competitors ifmodifications in the marketplace are expected and be in line with themodifications in the market so as to have an impact in the marketplace.
Itis imperative that business entities come up with some ability totap and learn from the market-based information that is incorporatedin the varied stakeholders including suppliers, channel members,customers and even competitors so as to have the appropriate responseat the right time (Zahra & George, 2002). This means thatbusiness entities would have to persistently adapt to the marketenvironment, which necessitates the application of market orientationstrategies. Market orientation is best explained with regard to theimplementation of the marketing concept that concentrates on thesatisfaction of the customer needs much more than competitors (Zahra& George, 2002). Market orientation is composed of aspects suchas data acquisition, processing, as well as analysis of theinformation pertaining to the general society, competitors andcustomers (Shapiro, 2006). Business entities would have to takelessons from the knowledge so as to attain superior, market-basedoutcomes. Essentially, market orientation contributes to theachievement of sustainable competitive advantage through learning thelikes and preferences of the customers, delivering customer value, aswell as examining and proactively countering the potential andcurrent competitors, not to mention adjusting or adapting to thecurrent market trends using appropriate customer value offerings(Shapiro, 2006).
Whileempirical research pertaining to the connection betweenorganizational learning capability and marketing performance islimited, volumes of literature have laid emphasis on the fact thatorganizational learning capability comes as a strong source ofcompetitive advantage, which, eventually means the achievement ofenhanced organizational performance (Cohen & Levinthal, 1990).However, the effects of this should be determined using differentvariables including shareholder returns, profitability measures,return on sales, return on capital among others. Three organizationalperformance measurement dimensions have been identified includingfinancial performance, organizational effectiveness and businessperformance. However, marketing performance has been identified as aunique or distinctive variable used in measuring organizationalperformance (Cohen & Levinthal, 1990). Of particular note is thefact that organizational learning capabilities influences marketingperformance in terms of the financial performance considering thatthe financial aspect of a business entity primarily results fromcustomer buying (Becerra-Fernandez & Sabherwal, 2003). This meansthat market growth would only be attained in instances where positivelearning has occurred within the business entity and the satisfactionof customers, which means that the business entity has successfullylearning how to effectively manage and implement its marketingconcept. The implication here is that learning capability in anorganization would only generate survival, competitiveness andprofitability if it is translated to market-based outcomes thatmeasure the performance of the market (Baker & Sinkula, 1999). Itshould be acknowledged that employees who are open and committed tolearning would enhance the performance and competitiveness of thebusiness entity in the market.
Onthe same note, the relationship between learning capability andmarket performance allows business entities to be proactive insensing events and trends within the market place. This relationshipallows the firm to question, as well as review its values so as toadjust its operations to the market trends (Baker & Sinkula,1999). Of course, there exists varied obstacles to learningcapability especially with regard to the motivation of employees tolean through sharing knowledge, as well as encouraging them to giveup what they seen as successful working beliefs and practices andtake up new ones that are considered a bit risky (Kodama,1994).
Asnoted earlier, organizational learning takes place through eitheradaptive learning or generative learning. Adaptive learning revolvesaround improving the existing rules, enhancing the current strategiesand improving efficiency of the organization without modifying thebeliefs and norms of the business entity (Becerra-Fernandez &Sabherwal, 2003). This means that in instances where an error hasbeen detected, it is corrected without altering or questioning thepredisposing values that the system has adopted since it takes placein the context of the current mental models. This means if thereexists any problem with the current mental models, adaptive learningwould result in non-optimal marketing performance (Oinas, 2002).Essentially, adaptive learning is often seen as the lowest level oflearning considering that even in instances where the habits arelearnt, there exists some resistance to future learning and change,which fails to avert the possibility of a problem or error come upagain in the future (Naidoo, 2010). On the other hand, generativelearning involves promotion of inquiry and challenging the existingassumptions resulting in new theories to be used. Generativelearning, in this case results in the redefinition of the existingbeliefs, norms and values, concentrating on enabling strategictransformation and renewal (Becerra-Fernandez & Sabherwal, 2003).In this form of learning, errors would be constructively questionedand their reasons for occurrence examined, which allows learning tooccur when mismatches are rectified through the examination andalteration of the governing or predisposing variables and actions(Kodama,1994).Of particular note is the fact that generative learning is tacit andintuitive in nature, necessitating a considerably higher magnitude ofrethinking and constructive foresight. Scholars have acknowledgedthat generative learning revolves around being creative and notcoping (Kodama,1994).
Nevertheless, scholars have come up with a higher learning capability level termedas triple-loop learning, which involves constant re-examination andquestion of the existing processes, systems, values, beliefs andproducts with regard to the manner in which they enhance the positionand performance of the organization in the future market place(Belderbos et al, 2004). Scholars note that as much as the capacitiesand resources of firms may have added some value in the past, thereis some likelihood that the modification of the customers’ demands,technology and industry structure could reduce their value in thefuture (Becerra-Fernandez & Sabherwal, 2003). This underlines theneed for continuous assessment and challenge pertaining to the basicor fundamental variables, which evolves into a source of innovationfor the business entity (Danneels, 2002). It should also be notedthat at the triple-loop level, the mental models would not be blockedand would not even be retained within the current practices andexperiences only rather they would be opened up so as to accommodatethe new mental models that have the capacity to propel the businessentity in a competitive manner in both the long-term and theshort-term (Oinas, 2002). Once a business entity has successfully putin place triple-loop learning, it would start seeing patterns inareas where other entities only see forces and events to which theyshould react.
Itwould be difficult to examine the effect of learning capability onmarketing performance without examination of market orientation. Alarge proportion of literature pertaining to market orientation laysemphasis on the role that it plays in obtaining informationpertaining to market trends, competitors and customers. It allows thebusiness entity to acquire new knowledge and anticipate the needspertaining to its future and current customers. The new knowledgewould form the base or foundation for challenging the current values,beliefs and assumptions, resulting in learning. Scholars haveacknowledged that market orientation would only impact the firm’sperformance, it should establish its capacity to learn generativelyso as to create value, as well as address latent needs (Oinas, 2002).Indeed, a strong market orientation has to be complemented by orincorporate a strong learning orientation so as to maximize thebusiness entity’s capacity to engage in the generative and adaptivelearning activities. In essence, organizational learning necessitatesmarket orientation as information pertaining to the market is changedinto knowledge. Indeed, managers who aim at optimizing organizationallearning capabilities need to have proper comprehension of the mostappropriate way for developing efficient market information viamarket orientation activities.
Learningcapability has been founded on the comprehension of the fact thatmarket orientation incorporates positive relationships with variedcapabilities particularly market-sensing capability and customerlinking capability. Market-sensing underlines a pre-emptive capacitythat allows business entities to track and determine the movement ofthe market in advance of the competitors. This is achieved via anopen approach to the development and interpretation of marketinformation, resulting in the capture of market insights that arecharacterized by activities like examining beyond the periphery orseeking answers well ahead of the usual sources (Cohen &Levinthal, 1990). As a component of learning capability, marketorientation is a process of decision-making that starts fromgathering of information to the implementation of the same(Becerra-Fernandez & Sabherwal, 2003). The fundamental componentsof the process include a strong commitment by the management todistribute or share the information pertaining to the market acrossand between the varied departments, as well as ensure that that opendecision-making is undertaken between divisional and functionalemployees (Becerra-Fernandez & Sabherwal, 2003). Using thisperspective, customers and markets have to be well comprehended,information distributed to every other corporate function, decisionswell coordinated, and the weaknesses and strengths of the competitorswell comprehended, not to mention the capacity to make tactical andstrategic decisions developed (Danneels, 2002).
Withregard to customer orientation perspective, scholars note that for anorganization to achieve a long-term profitable venture, it has toprioritize on the achievement of customers’ interests withoutexcluding other stakeholders such as employees, managers and ownersof the business entity (Becerra-Fernandez & Sabherwal, 2003). Inessence, organizational learning capability and market orientationare seen as synergistic related and mutually dependent on improvingthe performance of the business entity in the market.
Asacknowledged earlier, technology plays a crucial role in enhancingthe innovation and learning capability of a business entity. Indeed,it should be well acknowledged that a large proportion of innovationis accomplished through the use of the varied technologicalinnovations, right from the conception to the implementation andeventual substitution of the same. Apart from the creation of theinnovation, innovators use technology in making simulationspertaining to how the innovation would be applied, as well as theeffects that it will have on the business entity and other elementsof the organizational performance and marketing activities(Totterdell et al, 2002). This simulation creates a platform for thedetermination of the applicability and utility of the innovation,both technical and non-technical, in which case the company will havea clear idea on the importance of the innovation and the likelyeffects that it would have on the performance of a particular aspectof the business entity (Totterdell et al, 2002).
Further,technology comes in handy in the dissemination of informationpertaining to the innovation (Svetina & Prodan, 2008). More oftenthan not, the applicability of innovation requires the input of thedifferent stakeholders and particularly the employees and thecustomers as they are the main parties that would be affected andinteract with the innovation of any type. Business entities requirethat the users share information pertaining to their experience, soas to allow for the streamlining of the varied aspects of thetechnology (Svetina & Prodan, 2008). In this regard, technologycomes in handy, as the developers of the innovation can gather allthe feedback using technology, and assist users on how to get themost from the innovation, while also using the information derivedfrom the feedback to get rid of any bugs in the same (Danneels,2002).
Driversof non-technical innovation
Ofparticular note is the fact that innovation does not occur on its ownaccord rather it must be triggered by varied factors (Zahra &George, 2002). Of course, the factors are different for every sector,subject to the king of industry, the players and products or servicesthat are offered in the same (Camisón & Villar-López, 2011).Nevertheless, there are varied shared drivers of non-technicalinnovation within the service industry, cutting across all or a largenumber of business entities. First, there is the need for the companyor business entity to find, as well as foster talent. Scholarsacknowledge that there are four individuals that could driveinnovation including extreme individual achievers, inventors, supermentors and entrepreneurs (Zahra & George, 2002). In instanceswhere these people settle, there is likely to be economic empiresbuilt. This underlines the need for the company to adopt selectionpractices that allow for the recruitment of the best talents in thefield (Hanvanich et al, 2006). Once the best talent has beenattracted to the business entity, it is imperative that the businessentity creates an environment in which the employees are engaged soas to generate a higher yield of productivity.
Onthe same note, non-technical innovation may be driven by managers.These fall in the category of super-mentors, who inspire the protégésand assist them in connecting with the people that can act on theidea so as to produce better performance for the business entity(Hanvanich et al, 2006).
Further,relationships act as a driver to innovation in both the long-term andshort-term. Scholars acknowledge that talented managers usually haveproper comprehension of the importance of relationships, wherein anemotional commitment of an individual to another has the capacity tomake a different (Landry & Amara, 2001). However, the control ofa manager to limit and enhance the contribution of an employee toinnovation comes as a powerful factor. This underlines the importanceof cultivating relationships between managers, as well as betweenmanagers and employees, and employee to employee. It is wellacknowledged that the quality of relationship between managers andemployees would have a bearing on the capacity to leverage therelationship (Calantone et al, 2002). Other relationships that wouldbe crucial to innovation are between the company and the customers.Indeed, the development of the most creative ideas and enactment ofthe same necessitates that the company comprehends the customer’sneeds, which necessitates the incorporation of a good relationship(Landry & Amara, 2001).
Thesedrivers are categorized in two including absorptive capacity andknowledge sharing. Absorptive capacity underlines the capacity of afirm to recognize the value of new information, assimilate it, aswell as apply it in meeting its commercial ends. This may further bedivided into potential absorptive capacity and realized absorptivecapacity (Calantone et al, 2002). Potential absorptive capacityincorporates two elements including knowledge acquisition, whichunderlines the capacity of a firm to identify and acquire theknowledge that is generated externally that is critical to itsoperations (Edquist et al, 2001). There is also the assimilationcapacity, which underlines the processes and routine of a firm thatenable the analysis, processing, interpretation and comprehension ofinformation that is derived from external sources (Roth,2009).Realized absorptive capacity is composed transformation capabilityand exploitation capability, where the former underlines the capacityof the firm to develop and refine routines that enhance thecombination of existing knowledge, as well as the newly assimilatedand acquired knowledge, while the latter is the ability of a firm toapply newly acquired knowledge in the services and products fromwhich it can derive financial benefit (Hall & Bagchi-Sen, 2007).Of particular note is the fact that realized absorptive capacity issubject to transformation and exploitation capabilities.
Inthe era of knowledge economy, knowledge-based tasks have taken theplace of sequential and regular work given its major characteristicssuch as high uncertainty, complexity and flexibility. In this regard,the capacity of an organization to implement knowledge-basedactivities in an effective manner is increasingly important for thesustenance and development of competitive advantage (Chen et al,2004). Of particular note is the fact that there are varied knowledgebased activities including the development and integration ofknowledge, accumulation and use of knowledge, as well as the learningand sharing of the same, which, together make up knowledge management(Damanpour & Aravind, 2012). While all these are crucial to theorganization, the concept of knowledge sharing has been termed asknowledge management’s cornerstone. Scholars have acknowledged thatemployees or knowledge workers are the major sources of knowledge andare crucial to the creation, capture, as well as sharing of knowledgein business entities (Chen et al, 2004). Via the knowledge workers’experience in the key processes of the organizations, they create,find, as well as accumulate knowledge (Hall & Bagchi-Sen, 2007).It has been well acknowledged that knowledge sharing pertaining tothe individually held knowledge would come in handy in the creationof knowledge at the organizational and collective level (Evangelista& Vezzani, 2010). Indeed, scholars have stated that the creationof organizational knowledge takes place via communication ofindividual learning among co-workers, and that the effective andefficient flow of knowledge can only be sustained via people (Hall &Bagchi-Sen, 2007). Similarly, it has been argued that the creation ofknowledge would only result from the combination and exchange of thecurrent information among the employees. Unfortunately, a largeproportion of knowledge management initiatives have tended to layemphasis on technology while ignoring the people issues (Nasution etal, 2011). This may be the main reason for the failure of theseinitiatives, with scholars acknowledging that all the tools andtechnology in the globe would never create a knowledge-basedorganization without the input of human beings (Hall &Bagchi-Sen, 2007). Further, business entities that comprehend thenecessity for harnessing knowledge have perfect awareness of thecrucial issue pertaining to the creation of a work environment thatencourages knowledge sharing mechanisms, as well as learningcapabilities in and across business entities. Further, it is notedthat knowledge-sharing mechanisms take highly sophisticated processesto encourage in an organization (Hall & Bagchi-Sen, 2007). Thisis as a result that knowledge-sharing hostility is seen as aphenomenon that is dominates a wide proportion of organizations.Further, in spite of the fact that elements that affect knowledgesharing are heavily examined, a large proportion of studies haveconcentrated on either technological or social dimensions (Hall &Bagchi-Sen, 2007).
Theperception that individuals are crucial to knowledge sharing, as wellas the sustenance of competitive advantage is primarily based onknowledge-based perception of the business entity (Lokshin et al,2008). Scholars argue that knowledge-based strategy formulation muststart with the fundamental intangible resource, which is the people’scompetence. Individuals may use their competence in the creation ofvalue through the transfer and the conversion of knowledge internallyand externally to the business entity to which they belong (Ichijo& Nonaka, 2007).In instances where managers of a business entity internally directthe employees’ efforts they create intangible structures andtangible goods (Lokshin et al, 2008). If they were to direct theattention outwards, not only would they deliver the money and goodsbut also establish intangible structures including brand awareness,customer relationships, reputation, as well as new experiences forcustomers (Nguyen & Mothe, 2008). For both, shared knowledge in abusiness entity is a critical factor in the organizationalperformance.
However,it is also imperative that one acknowledges the variations betweenthe tacit and explicit knowledge particularly with regard to therequirement for varying sharing processes. Explicit knowledge isexpressed in numbers and words and can be easily shared andcommunicated in form of scientific formulae, hard data, universalprinciples and codified procedures (Lokshin et al, 2008). Thisknowledge may easily be blueprinted and put down in manuals, reportsand books (Calantone et al, 2002). Of particular note is the factthat this form of knowledge is best transferred or shared viaimpersonal communication of technological transfer technique. Tacitknowledge, on the other hand, revolves around personal and hard toformalize knowledge, which makes it extremely difficult to share orcommunicate with other people (Lokshin et al, 2008). This couldinclude hunches, intuitions and insights. In addition, tacitknowledge is deeply founded in the experiences and actions of theindividuals, as well as the emotions, values and ideals that anindividual embraces. Scholars have suggested that tacit knowledge maybe transferred via apprenticeship, socialization and observationwhich necessitate the maximum opportunity for the source, as well asthe recipient to undertake tasks hand-in-hand (Lokshin et al, 2008).In essence, sharing knowledge necessitates some effort on the part ofthe individual that is undertaking sharing whether it is tacit orexplicit. However, it is imperative that one differentiates betweeninformation sharing and knowledge sharing as the later must alsoincorporate some element of reciprocity while the former revolvesaround the making of information available to every other member ofthe business entity even in instances where it is not requested andunidirectional (Lokshin et al, 2008).
Itgoes without knowledge sharing is a fundamental element of knowledgemanagement systems. Four fundamental mechanisms for people to shareknowledge in a business entity have been identified. First, knowledgesharing may be achieved through contributing to the organizationaldatabases (Ichijo& Nonaka, 2007).In addition, knowledge may be shared in formal interactions acrossand within work units and teams. Further, it can be achieved throughsharing knowledge within informal interactions between individuals.lastly, it can be achieved through sharing knowledge in communitiesof practice, all of which are voluntary employee forums around thetopics in question.
Similarly,questions have been asked regarding the elements that determine theabsorptive capacity of a business entity. Scholars have acknowledgedthat the absorptive capacity concept application in different fieldsand in varied analytic levels has resulted in the identification ofdifferent factors that are assumed to determine or have a bearing onthe absorptive capacity (Hall & Bagchi-Sen, 2007). Thesecofactors may be categorized in three groups. In the first group,there are the research and development activities, where a largeproportion of scholars have utilized research and development relatedapproaches and measures in modeling the absorptive capacity at thelevel of the firm (Foss et al, 2011). These measures may include theintensity of research and development, the existence of the researchand development lab, persistent R&D activities, as well as themagnitude of R&D investment. It goes without saying that theindicators of in-house research and development capabilitiesunderline the fact that persistent research and developmentactivities enhance the absorptive capacity of the firm (Hall &Bagchi-Sen, 2007). However, the major limitation with theseindicators is that they never really state anything pertaining to theactual absorptive capacity rather they underline the accessopportunity. In the second category are the prior related knowledgeand the individual skills. Scholars have acknowledged that theabsorptive capacity would be path dependent since the prior knowledgeand experience alleviates the utilization of new knowledge (Hall &Bagchi-Sen, 2007). It should be acknowledged that the cumulativeaspect of knowledge may be associated with the level of education ofthe employees, which is seen as one of the determinants for theabsorptive capacity (Hall & Bagchi-Sen, 2007). Indeed, the higherthe level of training and education of the employees, the highertheir individual capacity to assimilate, as well as utilize the newknowledge in the organization. In the third category are the humanresource management practices and the organizational structures.Scholars have argued that the absorptive capacity of a businessentity does not merely underline the simple sum of the abilities ofthe employees (Hall & Bagchi-Sen, 2007). Indeed, extensiveresearch has demonstrated that the absorptive capability of the firmis primarily determined by their level of expertise in theorganization and stimulation of knowledge sharing, as well as thecross functional communication on one hand, as well knowledgemanagement and human resource management on the other (Hall &Bagchi-Sen, 2007). Essentially, it is imperative that managersparticipate in the provision and sharing of knowledge in building theabsorptive capacity.
Ofcourse, it is imperative that one asks the effect or rather theimpact of these elements to the performance of the organization. Withregard to knowledge sharing, the knowledge-based perspective of afirm argues that business entities are organized in order to not onlygenerate knowledge but also apply the knowledge (Spicer &Sadler-Smith, 2006). In essence, this perspective sees knowledge asthe most crucial strategic resource particularly considering thatservices that are offered using tangible resources are dependent onthe manner in which they are applied and combined, which, in turn isa function of the skills and knowledge that the firm has (Lööf &Heshmati, 2002). Such skills are incorporated in varied entitiesincluding the information systems, work routines, organizationalculture and documents and in individuals. Scholars have also notedthat the presence of certain elements such as the absorptive capacitybecomes necessary so that the knowledge can produce value in abusiness entity thereby having a positive impact on the performance(Spicer & Sadler-Smith, 2006). Underlining the connection betweenabsorptive capacity and knowledge sharing is the fact that businessentity would only absorb knowledge in a sharing process from therecipient, a process that would be facilitated by the existence of acommon language between the receiver and the transmitter (Chesbrough,2003).There are varied forms of knowledge that make a direct contributionto the achievement of enhanced financial performance and competitiveadvantage (Spicer & Sadler-Smith, 2006). Scholars have noted thatthe business entity’s knowledge base also comes as a basis for theperformance of the company. In essence, it may be assumed thatbusiness entities whose capabilities are related to knowledge arebound to succeed in terms of corporate performance (Hall &Bagchi-Sen, 2007). This underlines the fact that there exists astrong relationship between the skills associated with knowledge andthe performance of the corporate entity (Chen et al, 2004). As aresult of the diversity pertaining to knowledge related skills, alarge proportion of companies incorporate varying combinations andlevels of features that make up the capabilities. This means thatthere are variations to the contribution that every resource makes tothe performance of the organization between the companies (Chen etal, 2004). This blend or combination allows benefits like competitiveadvantage to be realized and, as a consequence, the achievement ofthe enhanced performance of the organization.
Anexamination of the effects of absorptive capacity on the performanceof a business entity necessitates that one determines the componentsof the concept. As noted, absorptive capacity underlines the capacityof the firm to deal with the external knowledge or rather the abilityof the firm to identify, exploit and assimilate knowledge from theenvironment (Chen et al, 2004). In essence, it has been acknowledgedthat the three components would be the prerequisites of the abilityof business entities to learn from others. This may also be seen withregard to three components including the capacity to recognize theexternal knowledge’s value, the assimilation of the same and theapplication of the knowledge to meet commercial ends. However, otherscholars have expanded on the components and introduced anothercomponent the transformation of this knowledge, which underlines thecapacity of the business entity to develop and refine or improve theroutines that enhance the combination of the existing knowledge, aswell as the newly assimilated and acquired knowledge (Lööf &Heshmati, 2002).
Similarly, it is imperative that one acknowledges the relationship that existsbetween absorptive capacity and knowledge sharing. It is worth notingthat knowledge does not entail something that is an absolute propertyof organizations and individuals, rather it entails something that isgrowing and dynamic and comes as the only type of asset that wouldgrow when shared (Roth,2009).Knowledge sharing in business entities is a critical process thatrequires to be attained and developed at all times so as to attainsustainable advantage. Of particular note is the fact that thesharing process, which involves the delivery and communication ofknowledge, is composed of two sides including the sender and thereceiver. In each of these sides, the entity that is involved mustincorporate a certain level of absorptive capacity, as well as bewilling and desire to take part in the process of sharing knowledge(Emden et al, 2006). On the part of the sender, the entity thatdelivers the knowledge must incorporate some absorptive capacity soas to relate the topic that is delivered with the context, so as toallow for the comprehension of the same by the receiver (Nguyen &Mothe, 2008). On the same note, it is imperative that the entityincorporates a certain magnitude of desire to share that knowledgeprior to actively participating in the sharing of that knowledge withthe recipient (Emden et al, 2006). On the other hand, the receiverwould also need a particular level of absorptive capacity so as tohave proper comprehension of the manner in which the knowledge thathas been passed on by the sender would be beneficial, as well as havethe capacity to relate the new knowledge to prior knowledge in thecreation of innovation and resolution of problems (Armbruster et al,2008). In instances where the receivers comprehend the benefits, itwould be expected that they would have a higher level of commitmentof the process of sharing knowledge.
Giventhat the concept of absorptive capacity underlines the capacity torecognize the value of new information, comprehend and make use ofthe new knowledge, it goes without saying that individuals must havea particular degree of absorptive capacity so as to have the desireto share the same knowledge. Scholars have acknowledged that peoplewho have large absorptive capacities also have attitudes that are insupport of knowledge sharing tendencies (Armbruster et al, 2008).This is better comprehended where absorptive capacity is seen as theability of an individual to recognize the benefits derived from newknowledge emanating from other parties, associating the benefits withthe knowledge that is already possessed, as well as the utilizationof the combined knowledge in coming up with solutions to problems.This means that absorptive capacity is essentially a function of theprior relevant knowledge and the intensity of an individual effort inenhancing the same. It is a function of the relevant of basicknowledge and the intensity of effort. The relevant basic knowledgeutilizes both breadth and depth of knowledge that is owned byentities concerned. The depth of knowledge underlines theaccumulation of considerably the same knowledge topic that wouldincrease the capacity of an individual to take in new knowledge,while breadth dimension is related to diversity of knowledge that hasthe capacity to facilitate the relations and establish associationswith the new knowledge. Intensity of effort, on the other hand, maybe perceived with regard to the extent by which people aim atincreasing their own absorptive capacity in different ways.
Effectsof learning capability on non-technical innovation through affectingthe drivers
Learningcapability in an organization is defined as the organization-widepersistent process that improves the collective ability of the firmto accept, make sense of, as well as respond to the external andinternal changes. This goes beyond the sum of information thatemployees hold and necessitates the collective interpretation andsystematic integration of the new knowledge that results in thecollective action and involves risk-taking as experimentation. Themain effects of learning capability on non-technical innovation areachieved through its effects on the drivers including knowledgesharing and absorptive capacity.
Scholarshave underlined the importance of a firm’s capacity to recognizethe value of external and new information, assimilation andapplication of the same to its commercial needs in its innovativecapabilities. The learning capability in a particular organizationwould determine the perception of the entity towards innovation inboth the long-term and the short-term (Armbruster et al, 2008).Learning organizations are high effective and competitive in thatthey have the capacity to create new knowledge, are effective inexperimentation and are, therefore innovative and create properconditions for the transfer of knowledge so as to allow for thespeedy solution of problems (Argyris, 2009). It is noted that thedevelopment of a learning organization does not come as a randomchance rather it is a deliberate intervention by the managers andleaders to establish or put in place the necessary internalconditions that allow the organization to function in a learningmode. Scholars have underlined the need for active management of thelearning process so as to ensure that it takes place by design andnot by chance (Camisón & Villar-López, 2010). Learningcapabilities allow for the establishment of policies that enable theprovision of the appropriate support for innovative ideas withinwhich the employees in different parts of the organization come up.Similarly, it ensures that the innovative ideas that the employeescome up with are provided with appropriate framework, therebyenhancing the absorptive capability (Walker et al, 2010). This may beclarified through an examination of another definition oforganizational learning capability, which revolves around the processof change in an individual, as well as shared action and thought,which is affected by and imbued within the organization’sinstitutions. In instances where the group and individual learning isinstitutionalized, organizational learning would take place, withknowledge being embedded in the non-human repositories such asstrategy, culture, structures and routines (Ichijo & Nonaka,2007). These are, essentially, the components of absorptive capacity.Similarly, organizational learning systems are comprised of thepersistently evolving knowledge that is stored in the organization,individual and groups, and constitutes the basic infrastructure thatsupports the formulation and implementation of strategy by the firm(Walker et al, 2010). This is, essentially, the component ofknowledge sharing. Proper learning capability in an organizationwould allow the organization to have enhanced control and managementof the knowledge in an organization, which supports the objectives ofthe company (Becker & Dietz, 2004).
Absorptivecapacity primarily revolves around the ability of an entity torecognize the value pertaining to new information, assimilate thesame and even use it or apply it to meet commercial ends (Ichijo &Nonaka, 2007). At the firm’s level, absorptive capacity may begenerated in varied ways. Indeed, research has indicated that thebusiness entities that carry out their own Research and developmenthave a better capability of using information that is externallyavailable (Becker & Dietz, 2004). This underlines the fact thatabsorptive capacity can be generated as a business entity’sresearch and development investment. Other scholars have acknowledgedthat absorptive capacity can be created as a byproduct of themanufacturing operations of a business entity (Ichijo & Nonaka,2007). The direct involvement in the manufacturing process allows abusiness entity to have better capacity to recognize, as well asexploit new information that would be relevant to a certain productmarket (Walker et al, 2010). Indeed, production experience offers thebusiness entity the background that is necessary for the recognitionof the value of and put in place techniques that would reorganize andautomate certain manufacturing processes (Becker & Dietz, 2004).Absorptive capacity would be most effectively created via examiningthe cognitive structures underlying learning.
Indetermining the effects of learning capability on the absorptivecapacity, it is imperative that one examines the areas in which theyinteract or intersect. Scholars have acknowledged that thedeterminants of absorptive capacity are, essentially, elements of thelearning capability (Walker et al, 2010). As noted, organizationallearning capability underlines the capacity of a business entity toapply appropriate and accurate management practices, structures andprocedures that enhance, facilitate and even encourage learning(Bender & Fish, 2000). It has been examined within the lens ofthe managerial and organizational factors that play a role in theenhancement of the organizational learning processes within thebusiness entity.
Oneof the major elements of organizational learning capability is theorganizational culture. Underlining the role that organizationalculture plays in determining the absorptive capacity is the statementthat a set of organization’s vision must acknowledge thecommunication systems and organizational structures, as it wouldassist in the facilitation of the decision-making process via themutually dependent learning of the staff (Alavi & Leidner, 2001).On the basis of this perspective, the organizational culture offersaspects of growth and appreciation of positive action in theorganizational system. It should be noted that organizational culturerevolves around a set or collection of shared value responsible forfacilitating the comprehension of the business entity’sfunctionality by the organizational community (Alavi & Leidner,2001). Similarly, it would be helpful in the provision of guidancefor the way of thinking, as well as behavior of the individualswithin this community. As an element of organizational learningcapability, organizational culture determines the capacity of theindividuals (particularly employees) to seek out and comprehend anynew knowledge and information, and incorporate or assimilate the samein the enhancement of the commercial ends of the business entity(Bender & Fish, 2000). The organizational culture of a businessentity would have to lay emphasis on the need to make decisions onthe basis of knowledge, facts and accurate information so as toenhance the business ends.
Inaddition, organizational learning capability incorporates or iscomposed of teamwork cooperation. Powerful working teams must bringon board the knowledge and skills of the employees so as to bear onproblems and come up with innovative ideas that the business entitycan use. Research has indicated that teamwork in learning out of orwithin a business entity is mutually supportive as it enhances thecommitment to a common vision, open mindedness and learning (Bender &Fish, 2000). As acknowledged, learning in a business entity takesplace primarily through the employees, who pass on knowledge acquiredin the past to the future generations. The sharing, utilization andimplementation of such knowledge requires trust and immensecooperation that can only be attained in organizations where teamworkis the norm rather than the exception (Tödtling et al, 2009).
Onthe same note, organizational learning capability involves having ashared mission and vision. Scholars have noted that a shared visionrevolves around the development of a sense of commitment to theorganization through the design of future images pertaining toambition and principle as a guideline on how to be successful (Bender& Fish, 2000). The determination of the clarity pertaining to themission and vision of a business entity is crucial in the preventionof the elimination of consistency in performance (Lööf &Heshmati, 2002). For knowledge sharing among workers in a businessentity to take place, it is imperative that employers or businessmanagers come up with goals of achievement for every project or taskthat they undertake, as well as share the organizational vision withthe employees. The mission and vision of the business entity guidesthe actions of the employees with regard to the sustainability of thefirm (Nelson & Winter, 2002). Indeed, they determine the kind ofinformation that the employees seek, how they use it, and for howlong it remains relevant to the business entity, as well as thestructures through which the information would be disseminated andused in decision-making within the business entity (Nelson &Winter, 2002). In essence, the organizational learning capability,through the mission and vision of the business entity determines thelevel or extent of absorptive capacity with regard to particularinformation that would be crucial to the achievement of thebottom-line for the organization.
Further,learning capability in an organization has systems thinking as itsfundamental component (Nasution et al, 2011). The system thinkingframework enhances the level of understanding among workers in anorganization with regard to the interrelationships between thefundamental components of systems responsible for the functioning ofthe entity. It is acknowledged that system thinking allows for aparadigm shift of mindsets, where interrelationships are seen insteadof linear cause and effect chains. Similarly, the examination andcomprehension of the original business of the organization allows forthe determination of the problem that has been caused, in which caseleaders and other members of staff can collaborate in coming up witha more appropriate solution for the business entity (Alavi &Leidner, 2001). The comprehension of the interrelationship betweenfundamental elements of the systems responsible for the functionalityof the business entity allows employees to have a clear understandingof the information that they should take into consideration whenmaking any decision pertaining to the business entity. It should benoted that systems’ thinking lays emphasis on collaboration amongthe employees irrespective of their level in the business entity(Calantone et al, 2002).
Lastly,learning capability in an organization must incorporate an element ofknowledge performance. Knowledge performance revolves around thecapacity of an organization, team and individual to comprehend thelessons that have been learnt (Ichijo & Nonaka, 2007).Researchers have stated that knowledge is sustainable andincorporates four subsystems that include storage, transfer,acquisition and creation of knowledge. Knowledge management iscrucial as it is fundamental to organizational learning. Scholarshave also stated that team empowerment and learning have a highcorrelation to the performance of the organization (Ichijo &Nonaka, 2007). Worker’s performance is subject to the efforts thatare made to learn, as well as upgrade the knowledge and skills thatthe parent institution requires.
Perhapsone of the fundamental questions revolves around the relationshipbetween absorptive capacity and knowledge sharing. With regard toinnovation, scholars have noted that absorptive capacity hasconsiderable positive effect on the innovation capability, whichdemonstrates that absorptive capacity plays a crucial role in thecreation of the innovation capability of a firm (Nelson & Winter,2002). In essence, a higher innovative capacity can increase theinnovation capability of the business entity. Research has alsorevealed that knowledge sharing incorporates a significant positiveeffect on the firm’s absorptive capacity. Indeed, knowledge sharinghas the capacity to both develop, as well as enhance a businessentity’s absorptive capacity (Lööf & Heshmati, 2002). On theother hand, the absorptive capacity would be beneficial to thebusiness entity through the integration of external knowledge, whichis then transformed so as to enhance the competence of the firm(Calantone et al, 2002). This capacity comes as a component of anorganizational culture that is learning oriented and forms the basisfor the firm to generate sustainable competitive advantage.
Similarly,research indicates that absorptive capacity comes as the mediatingvariable for both innovation capability and knowledge sharing, whereit bridges the two components. This underlines the fact that if thereabsorptive capacity is insufficient, there is a high likelihood thatthe firm’s knowledge sharing would have a significantly less directbenefit to the innovation capability of the firm (Nelson &Winter, 2002). Of course it is logical to assume that frequentknowledge sharing behavior would have a direct benefit on theinnovation capability of the firm. Nevertheless, the knowledge sharedbetween employees should be reprocessed, which means that unspecifiedknowledge may have not direct benefit for the innovative elements ofthe business entity (Nelson & Winter, 2002). However, ininstances where the knowledge that is shared among the employees istransformed or integrated using absorptive capacity, it could have aconsiderable effect on the innovation of the firm. Scholars haveconfirmed that in instances where the group and individual knowledgeis modified into organizational knowledge, the business entity wouldstart undertaking efficient management of its resources (Spicer &Sadler-Smith, 2006). This means that the knowledge that employeesshare amongst themselves has to be absorbed and transformed byworkers who have appropriate or the necessary knowledge capabilitiesso as to benefit the business entity and influence its innovationcapability (Calantone et al, 2002).
Essentially,it may be stated that knowledge sharing and absorptive capacity takedifferent sides of the spectrum where the former is the input whilethe later is the product of effective or successful knowledge sharingactivities. While the framework for interaction between these twovariables may not be clear, scholars have suggested that the successof knowledge sharing within a business entity does not simply resultfrom the technological means, rather it is also connected tobehavioral factors (Spicer & Sadler-Smith, 2006). Indeed,research shows that in instances where the relationship betweenworkers and the firm is good, there is a high likelihood that theworkers would engage in the effective sharing of the workingexperience and knowledge with their colleagues in an unconditionaland voluntary manner (Nasution et al, 2011).
Nevertheless,knowledge sharing in business entity may be inhibited by variedaspects within and outside the organization. Key among the issuesthat act as a barrier to knowledge sharing is the attitude of themanagement and the employees at large (Spicer & Sadler-Smith,2006). It has been acknowledged that in a large number oforganizations, managers only given out the most necessary informationin the fear that the employees would share it with the competitors.Indeed, scholars state that a large proportion of this information isprovided in form of rules and regulations that employees are supposedto follow without discussing or even asking (Bougrain &Haudeville, 2002)any questions pertaining to the same (Spicer &Sadler-Smith, 2006). This means that employees would not have theimpetus to make any substantial contribution to the enhancement ofthe knowledge and skills of the company beyond what is required ofhim or her in the long-term and the short-term. Nevertheless,business entities are trying to incorporate technology so as tocapture knowledge that the employees have so that it may be sharedacross the business entity (Tran, 1999). This means that companieswould not have to worry that the employees would leave the entitywith valuable knowledge to which the firm would not have any access.As much as many people may come into the entity and leave it, theirlearning is stored in technology for use in the future. Scholarsacknowledge that in instances where knowledge is stored in processesand systems, it has greater inherent value compared to instanceswhere it is stored in the heads of individuals (Tran, 1999). Inessence, leveraging the organizational knowledge has become thesolution to a considerably fragmented, as well as globally fragmentedworkplace (Sorensen & Stuart, 2000). The need to capture theknowledge that individuals have so as to share it across the entityhas been necessitated by the increased workforce mobility, decreasingeducational standards and the speedy rate of business modification,which has underlined the fact that individuals cannot be depended onto offer comprehensive and consistent insight (Nelson & Winter,2002). The knowledge that employees have is, instead leveraged to thelevel of the organization, where it may be augmented, synthesized,deployed and accessed for all people’s benefits. Business entitieshave to learn uniformly and rapidly across varied levels andfunctions of the organization (Alavi & Leidner, 2001).Organizations are inclined to come up with knowledge management andsharing system so as to gain competitive advantage in the marketplacethrough turning intellectual assets to value using innovation. It isworth noting that the incorporation of high knowledge sharing andabsorptive capacity in an organization would allow a business entityto have clear insight on issues and what needs to be done even beforeother business entities have realized the need for such information(Walling, 2014). This means that the organization would be a stepahead and have the capacity to respond and align itself properly tothe demands and trends of the market, thereby maintaining itscompetitiveness in both the long-term and the short-term. It shouldbe noted that the market environment is always dynamic, in which casethere is bound to be a modification of the circumstances under whichbusiness entities operate every now and then (Walling, 2014). It isonly when a firm is capable of responding in a speedy and appropriatemanner that its competitiveness in the market would be safeguarded.
Onthe same note, a large proportion of business entities are a bitapprehensive about changing their rules and regulations that haveserved them well for a long time and take up elements that areentirely new and substantially risky. Indeed, such business entitieshave rigid structures through which rules and regulations would haveto be passed before they are implemented in the organizations (Alavi& Leidner, 2001). This is worsened by the fact that the existingstructures have already been proven to be working, in which caseleaving them and taking up others that are yet to have their weightproven can be a bit difficult.
Inconclusion, organizational learning capability comes up as one of themost fundamental elements of business entities in the contemporaryhuman society. This is especially considering the importance ofinformation in informing the decisions that individuals makeregarding the marketing and management of the business entity(Argyris, 2009). Underlining the importance of learning capability inan organization is its effect on the innovation, both technical andnon-technical. It may be acknowledged that learning capabilitysafeguards the capacity of the business entity to share informationin the long-term and the short-term, while safeguarding theeffectiveness and soundness of the decisions that are made regardingthe same (Nelson & Winter, 2002). Non-technical innovationacknowledges that there are innovations that would not fit within thetraditional spectrum of innovation or rather the creation of specificequipments or software. In essence, non-technical innovation is allabout coming up with ideas that would allow for the enhancement ofservice provision in an entity (Tran, 1999). It is evident thatlearning capability enhances the capacity of non-technical innovationto positively enhance the quality of decisions made and allowsindividuals to make decisions that would enhance the marketingperformance.
However,it is imperative that the business entity positions itselfappropriately so as to attract the right talent, which will drive theinnovation process (Spicer & Sadler-Smith, 2006). This must becomplemented by the incorporation of proper management team andinfrastructure that does not stymie innovation but rather seeks waysof nurturing it for the benefit of the organization in the long-term.
Oneof the major barriers to non-technical innovation emanates from thefact that business entities primarily depend on their workers to haveand pass on the knowledge to other people within the business entityin the current times and the future. This presents a problem invaried ways. First, people are dynamic and there is a possibilitythat the individuals tasked with provision of the information wouldbe moving out of the organization in a few years’ time. This meansthat the information and knowledge would be lost on the organization,which affects its competitive advantage, profitability andsustainability (Kharabsheh, 2007). While non-technical innovation hasbeen seen as the most appropriate for a business entity, it isimperative that organizations combine or incorporate technology anduse it in storing and dispensing the organizational knowledge. Asnoted, manypeople may come into the entity and leave it, but their knowledge isstored in technology for use in the future. Scholars acknowledge thatin instances where knowledge is stored in processes and systems, ithas greater inherent value compared to instances where it is storedin the heads of individuals (Kharabsheh, 2007). In essence,leveraging the organizational knowledge has become the solution to aconsiderably fragmented, as well as globally fragmented workplace(Emden et al, 2006). The need to capture the knowledge thatindividuals have so as to share it across the entity has beennecessitated by the increased workforce mobility, decreasingeducational standards and the speedy rate of business modification,which has underlined the fact that individuals cannot be depended onto offer comprehensive and consistent insight (Frenz &Ietto-Gillies, 2009). The knowledge that employees have is, insteadleveraged to the level of the organization, where it may beaugmented, synthesized, deployed and accessed for all people’sbenefits. Business entities have to learn uniformly and rapidlyacross varied levels and functions of the organization (Frenz &Ietto-Gillies, 2009). Organizations are inclined to come up withknowledge management and sharing system so as to gain competitiveadvantage in the marketplace through turning intellectual assets tovalue using innovation. It is worth noting that the incorporation ofhigh knowledge sharing and absorptive capacity in an organizationwould allow a business entity to have clear insight on issues andwhat needs to be done even before other business entities haverealized the need for such information (Kharabsheh, 2007). This meansthat the organization would be a step ahead and have the capacity torespond and align itself properly to the demands and trends of themarket, thereby maintaining its competitiveness in both the long-termand the short-term. It should be noted that the market environment isalways dynamic, in which case there is bound to be a modification ofthe circumstances under which business entities operate every now andthen (Walling, 2014). It is only when a firm is capable of respondingin a speedy and appropriate manner that its competitiveness in themarket would be safeguarded.
Similarly,business entities need to be attentive to the form of learningcapability that they take up. It should be acknowledged that adaptivelearning may keep the business entity from comprehending the marketappropriately and prevent it from reaching its potential. More oftenthan not, generative learning capability is seen as more appropriatesince it allows employees to question the information that they arepresented with or even the structures that exist in the organization,in which case they can propose new structures that would be moreappropriate. As noted earlier, generative learning involves promotionof inquiry and challenging the existing assumptions resulting in newtheories to be used (Walling, 2014). Generative learning, in thiscase results in the redefinition of the existing beliefs, norms andvalues, concentrating on enabling strategic transformation andrenewal. In this form of learning, errors would be constructivelyquestioned and their reasons for occurrence examined, which allowslearning to occur when mismatches are rectified through theexamination and alteration of the governing or predisposing variablesand actions (Kharabsheh,2007).Of particular note is the fact that generative learning is tacit andintuitive in nature, necessitating a considerably higher magnitude ofrethinking and constructive foresight. Scholars have acknowledgedthat generative learning revolves around being creative and notcoping (Bougrain & Haudeville, 2002). This would be the mostappropriate way of promoting creativity and innovation in theorganization as required for sustainability and competitiveness ofthe business entity. Generative learning allows for enhancedparticipation of all employees in the shaping of the business entityto an organization of their choice. The participation of employees indecision-making allows individuals to own the entity and theprocesses involved, which makes them feel more valuable to theorganization (Tran, 1999). This means that their input in theorganization is bound to be higher as a result of the jobsatisfaction that comes with being valued, which essentially pushesup the productivity of the entity, its competitiveness andsustainability in the short-term and the long-term.
Similarly,it has been acknowledged that organizations often have a hard timechanging the structures that have been used and proven to beeffective. More often than not, the structures are based onparticular policies, standards, rules and regulations, in which caseit is imperative that the change is instituted from the fundamentalor basic structures of the organization. In this regard,organizational learning capabilities would only propel or supportnon-technical innovation in instances where there are clearstructures that allow of enhanced learning in terms of the knowledgesharing and absorptive capability (Tran, 1999). These systems mayinclude the vision and mission, systems thinking, organizationalculture among others. Organizational learning would only take placewithin particular systems or when supported by certain aspects of theentity, in which case it is imperative that the business entitystrives to safeguard the achievement of the same.
Nevertheless,learning capability always comes in handy in the elimination of thebarriers to non-technical innovation. Indeed, it enables businessentities to tap into their powers an strength particularly withregard to their employees, thereby allowing for the sharing anddissemination of the information. Technology is allowing for theelimination of the institutional barriers particularly with regard tobureaucracy in the sharing of information. This means thatindividuals can access information that is crucial for thedevelopment of a business irrespective of their level and rank in theentity (Sorensen & Stuart, 2000). Indeed, while in the past itwould have been necessary that they go through protocol in obtainingsuch information and possibly have their efforts delayed in thelong-term and the short-term by bureaucratic interests, technologyhas enabled business entities to store information in a central andeasily accessible databases, where every other employee can gainaccess and use for the development of the business. This not onlyreduces the time but also the cost of obtaining such information,thereby allowing for speedy innovation and modification of thesystems in a way that would enhance the profitability andsustainability of the business entity in the long-term.
Onthe same note, technology allows for ease of sharing such crucialinformation. More often than not, individuals that require particularinformation in the entity are not within the same unit or department.Indeed, given the high level of globalization, there is thelikelihood that they are not even within the same geographicallocation. This makes it immensely difficult for information to bedisseminated from one person to the other especially in instanceswhere the parties speak different languages.
Nevertheless,business entities can set up websites that are accessible fromdifferent parts of the globe. Further, there is always thepossibility that they can use videoconferencing to disseminateinformation and communicate amongst themselves (Roth,2009).Given that individual employees are some of the best reservoirs ofinformation and knowledge that would be useful in coming up withinnovative ways of doing business, allowing for the socialinteraction of the employees irrespective of their geographicallocation comes in handy in enhancing non-technical innovation (Roth,2009).In the past, only individuals who had the capacity to foot the travelbill could learn from native speakers, be exposed to the perspectivesof other cultures and even learn via social interaction alongsideother incredible educational advantages. With increased technologicaladvancement, setting up language exchange has been made immensely inwhich case it is considerably less costly to achieve the same withineven less time.
Moreoften than not, the application of new techniques is problematic inan organization given the varied bugs that may not be recognizedbefore the implementation of such innovation. Indeed, the parties whodid not participate in the development of that idea may have a hardtime determining how best to apply the same. In essence, it isrecomended This necessitates constant communication between thedevelopers or innovators with the individuals on the ground so as notonly to aid in the application of the knowledge but also enable theelimination of the problems that may not have been noted in thecourse of the development and rolling out. Needless to say,inefficient communication would be detrimental to the timelyelimination of such bugs and subsequent rolling out of the plans.Technology, therefore, aids in the elimination of the barriers thatwould be encountered in rolling out the plan and enable thedevelopers or innovators to brainstorm in their effort to eliminatethe bugs.
Lastly,scholars have acknowledged that organizational learning takes placemost effectively in instances where the employees and all otherstakeholders fully participate in the development of the innovationand the application of the same in the long-term and the short-term.However, the participation of the stakeholders is often inhibited bythe bureaucracy and protocols, in which case only rules andregulations are handed down to the juniors with the expectation thatthey would wholeheartedly take them. Unfortunately, this is notalways the case as the employees often feel misused and undervalued,leading to immense reduction in job satisfaction, motivation andperformance (Roth,2009).Technology, however, allows business entities to create platformswhere the employees can participate not only in the creation,development and implementation of new systems but also in the rollingout and elimination of bugs. This ensures that they participate fullyand become committed to the attainment of proficiency in theapplication of the ideas created, which enhances the chances forsuccess of the program.
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