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The structures and processes of learning. a case study

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2002
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Business Research
Issue number7
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)571-581
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The objective of this paper is to examine the structures and processes of learning in industrial systems. Put briefly, we argue that learning is not a purely firm-based phenomenon and that it is partly dependent on the distribution of capabilities in the wider system in which the firm is embedded. The governance structures that sustain a particular division of labor in an industrial system play a key role in enabling some forms of learning and constraining others. We classify governance structures as falling under three categories — market, hierarchy, and business relationships — and explore learning implications for all three. Using a case study, of a Kenyan firm that designs and manufactures wind-powered water pumps, we examine in detail the processes of learning that occurred over a 17-year period at an intra- and interorganizational level. Finally, we extract some conclusions as to how these processes were affected by the governance structures that the firm used to control and access the capabilities that it needed to design and manufacture its products.