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Creating and Transferring Knowledge for Productivity Improvement in Factories

Author

Listed:
  • Michael A. Lapré

    () (Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee 37203)

  • Luk N. Van Wassenhove

    () (INSEAD, Boulevard de Constance, 77305 Fontainebleau Cedex, France)

Abstract

Can a firm accelerate its learning curve if knowledge about the production function is incomplete? This article identifies a production line specifically set up to create technological knowledge about its production function through scientific experimentation (formal learning) as opposed to learning by doing. The organizational structure of this line was very successful in creating technological knowledge. Formal learning resulted in huge productivity improvements. Replication of this organizational structure on three production lines in other plants within the same firm fell short of expectations. Formal learning did not result in similar productivity improvements. Our research suggests two factors that may facilitate creation and transfer of technological knowledge: management buy-in and knowledge diversity to solve interdepartmental problems.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael A. Lapré & Luk N. Van Wassenhove, 2001. "Creating and Transferring Knowledge for Productivity Improvement in Factories," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(10), pages 1311-1325, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:47:y:2001:i:10:p:1311-1325
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.47.10.1311.10264
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nile W. Hatch & David C. Mowery, 1998. "Process Innovation and Learning by Doing in Semiconductor Manufacturing," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(11-Part-1), pages 1461-1477, November.
    2. Michael A. Lapré & Amit Shankar Mukherjee & Luk N. Van Wassenhove, 2000. "Behind the Learning Curve: Linking Learning Activities to Waste Reduction," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(5), pages 597-611, May.
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    4. Amit Shankar Mukherjee & Michael A. Lapré & Luk N. Van Wassenhove, 1998. "Knowledge Driven Quality Improvement," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(11-Part-2), pages 35-49, November.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Arumugam, V. & Antony, Jiju & Kumar, Maneesh, 2013. "Linking learning and knowledge creation to project success in Six Sigma projects: An empirical investigation," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 141(1), pages 388-402.
    2. Peter H. Gray & Darren B. Meister, 2004. "Knowledge Sourcing Effectiveness," Management Science, INFORMS, pages 821-834.
    3. Robert Salomon & Xavier Martin, 2008. "Learning, Knowledge Transfer, and Technology Implementation Performance: A Study of Time-to-Build in the Global Semiconductor Industry," Management Science, INFORMS, pages 1266-1280.
    4. Linda Argote & Bill McEvily & Ray Reagans, 2003. "Managing Knowledge in Organizations: An Integrative Framework and Review of Emerging Themes," Management Science, INFORMS, pages 571-582.
    5. repec:eee:respol:v:46:y:2017:i:10:p:1873-1886 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Biskup, Dirk & Simons, Dirk, 2004. "Common due date scheduling with autonomous and induced learning," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 159(3), pages 606-616, December.
    7. Koen H. Heimeriks & Geert Duysters, 2007. "Alliance Capability as a Mediator Between Experience and Alliance Performance: An Empirical Investigation into the Alliance Capability Development Process," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(1), pages 25-49, January.
    8. Anita L. Tucker, 2007. "An Empirical Study of System Improvement by Frontline Employees in Hospital Units," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, pages 492-505.
    9. Argote, Linda & Fahrenkopf, Erin, 2016. "Knowledge transfer in organizations: The roles of members, tasks, tools, and networks," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 146-159.
    10. Serafim Opricovic, 2009. "A Compromise Solution in Water Resources Planning," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 23(8), pages 1549-1561, June.
    11. Markus C. Becker, 2012. "Distributed Knowledge and its Coordination," Chapters,in: Handbook of Knowledge and Economics, chapter 20 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    12. Yamane, Yasuo & Takahashi, Katsuhiko & Hamada, Kunihiro & Morikawa, Katsumi & Nur Bahagia, Senator & Diawati, Lucia & Cakravastia, Andi, 2015. "Developing a plant system prediction model for technology transfer," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 119-128.
    13. Marshall Fisher, 2007. "Strengthening the Empirical Base of Operations Management," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, pages 368-382.
    14. Anita L. Tucker & Ingrid M. Nembhard & Amy C. Edmondson, 2007. "Implementing New Practices: An Empirical Study of Organizational Learning in Hospital Intensive Care Units," Management Science, INFORMS, pages 894-907.
    15. Ray Reagans & Linda Argote & Daria Brooks, 2005. "Individual Experience and Experience Working Together: Predicting Learning Rates from Knowing Who Knows What and Knowing How to Work Together," Management Science, INFORMS, pages 869-881.
    16. Larry J. Menor & M. Murat Kristal & Eve D. Rosenzweig, 2007. "Examining the Influence of Operational Intellectual Capital on Capabilities and Performance," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, pages 559-578.
    17. Dosi, Giovanni & Grazzi, Marco & Mathew, Nanditha, 2017. "The cost-quantity relations and the diverse patterns of “learning by doing”: Evidence from India," Research Policy, Elsevier, pages 1873-1886.
    18. Kamalini Ramdas & Taylor Randall, 2008. "Does Component Sharing Help or Hurt Reliability? An Empirical Study in the Automotive Industry," Management Science, INFORMS, pages 922-938.
    19. Michael A. Lapré & Nikos Tsikriktsis, 2006. "Organizational Learning Curves for Customer Dissatisfaction: Heterogeneity Across Airlines," Management Science, INFORMS, pages 352-366.
    20. Adrian S. Choo & Kevin W. Linderman & Roger G. Schroeder, 2007. "Method and Psychological Effects on Learning Behaviors and Knowledge Creation in Quality Improvement Projects," Management Science, INFORMS, pages 437-450.
    21. Nadeau, Marie-Claude & Kar, Ashish & Roth, Richard & Kirchain, Randolph, 2010. "A dynamic process-based cost modeling approach to understand learning effects in manufacturing," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 128(1), pages 223-234, November.
    22. Biskup, Dirk, 2008. "A state-of-the-art review on scheduling with learning effects," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 188(2), pages 315-329, July.
    23. Robert S. Huckman & Bradley R. Staats, 2011. "Fluid Tasks and Fluid Teams: The Impact of Diversity in Experience and Team Familiarity on Team Performance," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, pages 310-328.

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