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Modeling Routines and Organizational Learning. A Discussion of the State-of-the-Art

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  • Giovanni Dosi
  • Marco Faillo
  • Luigi Marengo

Abstract

This paper presents a critical overview of some recent attempts at building formal models of organizations as information-processing and problem-solving entities. We distinguish between two classes of models according to the different objects of analysis. The first class includes models mainly addressing information processing and learning and analyzes the relations between the structure of information flows, learning patterns, and organizational performances. The second class focuses on the relationship between the division of cognitive labor and search processes in some problem-solving space, addressing more directly the notion of organizations as repositories of problem-solving knowledge. Here the objects of analysis are the problem-solving procedures which the organization embodies. The results begin to highlight important comparative properties regarding the impact on problem-solving efficiency and learning of different forms of hierarchical governance, the dangers of lock-in associated with specific forms of adaptive learning, the relative role of “online” vs. “offline” learning, the impact of the “cognitive maps” which organizations embody, the possible trade-offs between accuracy and speed of convergence associated with different “decomposition schemes”. We argue that these are important formal tools towards the development of a comparative institutional analysis addressing the distinct properties of different forms of organization and accumulation of knowledge.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy in its series LEM Papers Series with number 2006/10.

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Date of creation: 02 May 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2006/10

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Keywords: Division of labor; Mental models; Problem-solving; Problem decomposition.;

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References

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  1. Marengo, Luigi, et al, 2000. "The Structure of Problem-Solving Knowledge and the Structure of Organizations," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(4), pages 757-88, December.
  2. Giovanni Dosi & Luigi Marengo, 1999. "On the tangled discourse between transaction costs economics and competence-based views of the firms: Some comments," LEM Papers Series 1999/08, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  3. Page, Scott E, 1996. "Two Measures of Difficulty," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 321-46, August.
  4. Keith Pavitt, 2002. "Innovating routines in the business firm: what corporate tasks should they be accomplishing?," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 117-133, February.
  5. Jan W. Rivkin & Nicolaj Siggelkow, 2003. "Balancing Search and Stability: Interdependencies Among Elements of Organizational Design," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(3), pages 290-311, March.
  6. Sidney G. Winter, 2002. "Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Production," LEM Papers Series 2002/27, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  7. Sydney Winter & Giovanni Dosi, 2000. "Interpreting Economic Change: Evolution, Structures and Games," LEM Papers Series 2000/08, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  8. Michael D. Cohen & Roger Burkhart & Giovanni Dosi & Massimo Egidi & Luigi Marengo & Massimo Warglien & Sidney Winter & with comments by Benjamin Coriat, 1995. "Routines and Other Recurring Action Patterns of Organizations: Contemporary Research Issues," Working Papers 95-11-101, Santa Fe Institute.
  9. Sendil K. Ethiraj & Daniel Levinthal, 2004. "Modularity and Innovation in Complex Systems," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(2), pages 159-173, February.
  10. Scott E. Page, 1996. "Two measures of difficulty (*)," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 321-346.
  11. Markus C. Becker, 2004. "Organizational routines: a review of the literature," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(4), pages 643-678, August.
  12. Dosi, Giovanni, 1995. "Hierarchies, Markets and Power: Some Foundational Issues on the Nature of Contemporary Economic Organizations," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 1-19.
  13. Marengo, L, 1992. "Coordination and Organizational Learning in the Firm," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 2(4), pages 313-26, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Giovanni Dosi, 2012. "Economic Coordination and Dynamics: Some Elements of an Alternative "Evolutionary" Paradigm," LEM Papers Series 2012/08, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.

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