IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Organizational learning as a situated routine-based activity in international settings


  • Saka-Helmhout, Ayse


A large body of research has extensively studied the mechanisms behind organizational learning processes. However, there have been few studies of the learning process that explore the influences of history, context, and social meaning in international settings. Rather, the focus within the international management field has been on knowledge transfer. This study adopts a situated routine-based view of organizational learning to highlight the influence of national institutional characteristics on the acquisition and enactment of new knowledge. It is based on in-depth case studies that systematically compare the ways in which Japanese parent company knowledge diffuses to subsidiaries in the UK automotive industry. It concludes that organizational learning within the context of multinational corporations is shaped by actors' enactment of new practices that are embedded in broader institutional contexts, where the links between knowledge transfer and the reinforcement of or change in routines are important in determining the level at which a subsidiary learns.

Suggested Citation

  • Saka-Helmhout, Ayse, 2010. "Organizational learning as a situated routine-based activity in international settings," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 41-48, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:worbus:v:45:y:2010:i:1:p:41-48

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Masaaki Kotabe & Denise Dunlap-Hinkler & Ronaldo Parente & Harsh A Mishra, 2007. "Determinants of cross-national knowledge transfer and its effect on firm innovation," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 38(2), pages 259-282, March.
    2. Gordon Redding, 2005. "The thick description and comparison of societal systems of capitalism," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 36(2), pages 123-155, March.
    3. Brian T. Pentland & Martha S. Feldman, 2005. "Organizational routines as a unit of analysis," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(5), pages 793-815, October.
    4. Gregory Jackson & Richard Deeg, 2008. "Comparing capitalisms: understanding institutional diversity and its implications for international business," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 39(4), pages 540-561, June.
    5. Gupta, Vipin & Hanges, Paul J. & Dorfman, Peter, 2002. "Cultural clusters: methodology and findings," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 11-15, April.
    6. Tony Edwards & Phil Almond & Ian Clark & Trevor Colling & Anthony Ferner, 2005. "Reverse Diffusion in US Multinationals: Barriers from the American Business System," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(6), pages 1261-1286, September.
    7. Whitley, Richard, 2007. "Business Systems and Organizational Capabilities: The Institutional Structuring of Competitive Competences," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199205189.
    8. Klaus Uhlenbruck & Klaus E. Meyer & Michael A. Hitt, 2003. "Organizational Transformation in Transition Economies: Resource-based and Organizational Learning Perspectives," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(2), pages 257-282, March.
    9. Vernon, Raymond, 1979. "The Product Cycle Hypothesis in a New International Environment," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 41(4), pages 255-267, November.
    10. Dirks, Daniel & Hemmert, Martin & Legewie, Jochen & Meyer-Ohle, Hendrik & Waldenberger, Franz, 2000. "The Japanese employment system in transition," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 9(5), pages 525-553, October.
    11. Anthony Ferner & Matthias Varul, 2000. "'Vanguard' Subsidiaries and the Diffusion of New Practices: A Case Study of German Multinationals," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 38(1), pages 115-140, March.
    12. Jacky F. L. Hong & Mark Easterby-Smith & Robin Stanley Snell, 2006. "Transferring Organizational Learning Systems to Japanese Subsidiaries in China," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(5), pages 1027-1058, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Tippmann, Esther & Sharkey Scott, Pamela & Mangematin, Vincent, 2014. "Subsidiary managers’ knowledge mobilizations: Unpacking emergent knowledge flows," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 431-443.
    2. repec:hal:gemwpa:hal-00864324 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Kostova, Tatiana & Marano, Valentina & Tallman, Stephen, 2016. "Headquarters–subsidiary relationships in MNCs: Fifty years of evolving research," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 176-184.
    4. Patriotta, Gerardo & Castellano, Anna & Wright, Mike, 2013. "Coordinating knowledge transfer: Global managers as higher-level intermediaries," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 515-526.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:worbus:v:45:y:2010:i:1:p:41-48. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.