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The Transfer of Experience in Groups of Organizations: Implications for Performance and Competition

  • Paul Ingram

    ()

    (Columbia Business School, Columbia University, New York, New York 10027-6902)

  • Tal Simons

    ()

    (Graduate School of Industrial Administration, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213-3890)

Registered author(s):

    Groups of organizations are pervasive, although there is little systematic knowledge about how they affect their members. We examine one dimension of the operation of organization groups, the transfer of experience. Our core argument is that organization groups may create benefits for their members, but problems for those outside the group. Within the group they can facilitate the transfer of experience among their members by creating mechanisms for communication, incentives for helping, and by promoting understanding. The predicted pattern of experience transfer should improve performance of those within the group, but also has implications for those outside it. Experience accumulated in one organization group strengthens the competitiveness of its organizations, and thereby harms competitors outside the group. Thus, organization groups are fundamental both for the functioning of their members and the competitive dynamics of their industries. Our longitudinal analysis of the profitability of kibbutz agriculture supports both these claims. Between 1954 and 1965 (the years of this study), almost all kibbutzim were part of organization groups. Kibbutzim became more profitable as a function of the experience of others in their group. Their profitability was reduced, however, as a function of experience of others outside their group.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.48.12.1517.437
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    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 48 (2002)
    Issue (Month): 12 (December)
    Pages: 1517-1533

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:48:y:2002:i:12:p:1517-1533
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    1. Mark Rosenzweig & Andrew D. Foster, . "Learning by Doing and Learning from Others: Human Capital and Technical Change in Agriculture," Home Pages _068, University of Pennsylvania.
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    6. Epple, D. & Argote, L. & Darr, E.D., 1995. "The Acquisition, Transfer and Depreciation of Knowledge in Service Organisations: Productivity in Franchises," GSIA Working Papers 1995-16, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
    7. Bahk, Byong-Hong & Gort, Michael, 1993. "Decomposing Learning by Doing in New Plants," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 561-83, August.
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    9. Peter Grindley & David C. Mowery & Brian Silverman, 1994. "SEMATECH and collaborative research: Lessons in the design of high-technology consortia," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(4), pages 723-758.
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