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Adaptive Coordination of a Learning Team

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  • Pertti H. Lounamaa

    (Nokia Electronics)

  • James G. March

    (Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305-5015)

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    Abstract

    Contemporary research on organizations has cast doubt on the extent to which organizations can be expected to adapt to their environments through rational, anticipatory action. Incremental experiential learning has been suggested as an alternative form of organizational intelligence, less demanding cognitively yet capable of considerable power. This paper examines such learning in the context of a model of a team involving two learning members, each of whom modifies beliefs about the other on the basis of experience, and an adaptive coordinator who adjusts a coordination control variable. It is shown that although learning is a powerful mechanism for improving organizational performance, it can often be confounded by the effects of attributional biases on the part of members, by the interactions of simultaneous learning by the members and the coordinator, and by errors in perceiving or interpreting experience. These complications lead to consideration of possible heuristics to overcome such learning liabilities. It is suggested that the effectiveness of incremental learning can often be improved by slowing the rate of learning and adaptation, by reducing the simultaneity of behavioral changes, and by scaling the size of the changes.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.33.1.107
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 33 (1987)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 107-123

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:33:y:1987:i:1:p:107-123

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    Related research

    Keywords: organizational learning; adaptive effectiveness;

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    Cited by:
    1. Lionel Honoré, 2006. "Déviance et contrôle des comportements," Revue Finance Contrôle Stratégie, revues.org, vol. 9(2), pages 63-87, June.
    2. Larsen, Erik R. & Morecroft, John D. W. & Thomsen, Jesper S., 1999. "Complex behaviour in a production-distribution model," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 119(1), pages 61-74, November.
    3. Zucker, Lynne G. & Darby, Michael R., 1997. "Present at the biotechnological revolution: transformation of technological identity for a large incumbent pharmaceutical firm," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4-5), pages 429-446, December.
    4. Nooteboom, B., 2005. "Elements of a Cognitive Theory of the Firm," Discussion Paper 2005-46, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    5. Mulotte, L., 2013. "Do experience effects vary across governance modes? Evidence from new product introduction in the global aerospace industry, 1948–2000 (Online first)," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-5905829, Tilburg University.
    6. Taudes, Alfred & Trcka, Michael & Lukanowicz, Martin, 2002. "Organizational learning in production networks," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 141-163, February.
    7. Nooteboom, Bart, 1996. "Towards a cognitive theory of the firm : issues and a logic of change," Research Report 97B05, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
    8. Andreas Blume & John Duffy & April M. Franco, 2009. "Decentralized Organizational Learning: An Experimental Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1178-1205, September.
    9. Nooteboom, B., 2006. "Forms, Sources and Processes of Trust," Discussion Paper 2006-40, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    10. Nooteboom, B., 2005. "Entrepreneurial Roles Along a Cycle of Discovery," Discussion Paper 2005-43, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    11. Nooteboom, B., 2005. "Learning to Trust," Discussion Paper 2005-47, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    12. Pierre-Xavier Meschi & Emmanuel Metais, 2011. "Les firmes apprennent-elles de leurs échecs d’acquisition?," Revue Finance Contrôle Stratégie, revues.org, vol. 14(1), pages 69-100., March.

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