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

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  • 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)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Ingram & Tal Simons, 2002. "The Transfer of Experience in Groups of Organizations: Implications for Performance and Competition," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(12), pages 1517-1533, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:48:y:2002:i:12:p:1517-1533
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.48.12.1517.437
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kane, Aimee A. & Argote, Linda & Levine, John M., 2005. "Knowledge transfer between groups via personnel rotation: Effects of social identity and knowledge quality," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 56-71, January.
    2. Arturs Kalnins & Kyle J. Mayer, 2004. "Franchising, Ownership, and Experience: A Study of Pizza Restaurant Survival," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(12), pages 1716-1728, December.
    3. Jane Lu & Xufei Ma, 2015. "Partner resource asymmetry and IJV survival," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 32(4), pages 1039-1064, December.
    4. Nicolai J. Foss & Kenneth Husted & Snejina Michailova, 2010. "Governing Knowledge Sharing in Organizations: Levels of Analysis, Governance Mechanisms, and Research Directions," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 455-482, May.
    5. Thompson, Peter, 2010. "Learning by Doing," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier.
    6. repec:rse:wpaper:v:13:y:2017:i:1:p:26-35 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Jiang, Guoliang F. & Holburn, Guy L.F. & Beamish, Paul W., 2014. "The Impact of Vicarious Experience on Foreign Location Strategy," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 345-358.
    8. Tonya Boone & Ram Ganeshan & Robert L. Hicks, 2008. "Learning and Knowledge Depreciation in Professional Services," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(7), pages 1231-1236, July.
    9. Robert S. Huckman & Gary P. Pisano, 2006. "The Firm Specificity of Individual Performance: Evidence from Cardiac Surgery," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(4), pages 473-488, April.
    10. 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, vol. 54(7), pages 1266-1280, July.
    11. Linda Argote & Bill McEvily & Ray Reagans, 2003. "Managing Knowledge in Organizations: An Integrative Framework and Review of Emerging Themes," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(4), pages 571-582, April.
    12. Robert S. Huckman & Gary P. Pisano, 2003. "The Effect of Organizational Context on Individual Performance," NBER Working Papers 10027, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Kimhi, Ayal, 2009. "Heterogeneity, Specialization and Social Cohesion in Israeli Moshav Cooperatives," Journal of Rural Cooperation, Hebrew University, Center for Agricultural Economic Research, vol. 37(1).
    14. Bradley R. Staats & Francesca Gino, 2012. "Specialization and Variety in Repetitive Tasks: Evidence from a Japanese Bank," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(6), pages 1141-1159, June.
    15. Michael A. Lapré & Nikos Tsikriktsis, 2006. "Organizational Learning Curves for Customer Dissatisfaction: Heterogeneity Across Airlines," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(3), pages 352-366, March.
    16. Alfredo Jiménez & David Fuente, 2016. "Learning from Others: the Impact of Vicarious Experience on the Psychic Distance and FDI Relationship," Management International Review, Springer, vol. 56(5), pages 633-664, October.
    17. Santos, Jose Novais & Baptista, Cristina Sales, 2016. "Information exchange within horizontal relationships: A fuzzy-set approach to companies' characteristics role," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 5255-5260.
    18. Arturs Kalnins & Wilbur Chung, 2006. "Social Capital, Geography, and Survival: Gujarati Immigrant Entrepreneurs in the U.S. Lodging Industry," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(2), pages 233-247, February.

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