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Relational Embeddedness and Learning: The Case of Bank Loan Managers and Their Clients

  • Brian Uzzi

    ()

    (Kellogg Graduate School of Management, and Department of Sociology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208)

  • Ryon Lancaster

    ()

    (Kellogg Graduate School of Management, and Department of Sociology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208)

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    As a complement to the literature on learning in firms, we investigate learning in markets, a nascent area of study that focuses on how learning occurs between, rather than within, firms. The core idea behind our framework is that networks shape knowledge transfer and learning processes by creating channels for knowledge trade and reducing the risk of learning. In developing our framework, we elaborate on the knowledge transfer capabilities of different types of social ties, the informational properties of public and private knowledge, and how types of knowledge transfer and forms of learning follow from the networks within which firms embed their exchanges. We conducted fieldwork at Chicago-area banks to examine our framework's plausibility and application to learning in financial lending markets, a setting relevant to most firms. Findings indicate that learning is located not only in actors' cognitions or past experiences, but also in relations among actors, and that viewing learning as a social process helps solve problems regarding knowledge transfer and learning in markets.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.49.4.383.14427
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    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 49 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 4 (April)
    Pages: 383-399

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:49:y:2003:i:4:p:383-399
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    1. Berger, Allen N. & Klapper, Leora F. & Udell, Gregory F., 2001. "The ability of banks to lend to informationally opaque small businesses," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2656, The World Bank.
    2. 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.
    3. Mitchell A. Petersen & Raghuram G. Rajan, 1995. "The Effect of Credit Market Competition on Lending Relationships," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(2), pages 407-443.
    4. Charles W. Calomiris & Carlos D. Ramirez, 1996. "The Role Of Financial Relationships In The History Of American Corporate Finance," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 9(2), pages 52-73.
    5. Mitchell A. Petersen & Raghuram G. Rajan, 2002. "Does Distance Still Matter? The Information Revolution in Small Business Lending," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(6), pages 2533-2570, December.
    6. Eric D. Darr & Linda Argote & Dennis Epple, 1995. "The Acquisition, Transfer, and Depreciation of Knowledge in Service Organizations: Productivity in Franchises," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 41(11), pages 1750-1762, November.
    7. Geertz, Clifford, 1978. "The Bazaar Economy: Information and Search in Peasant Marketing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 28-32, May.
    8. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1998. "What Has Economics to Say about Racial Discrimination?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 91-100, Spring.
    9. Bradley, Michael & Desai, Anand & Kim, E. Han, 1983. "The rationale behind interfirm tender offers : Information or synergy?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1-4), pages 183-206, April.
    10. Petersen, Mitchell A & Rajan, Raghuram G, 1994. " The Benefits of Lending Relationships: Evidence from Small Business Data," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-37, March.
    11. Tanya Menon & Jeffrey Pfeffer, 2003. "Valuing Internal vs. External Knowledge: Explaining the Preference for Outsiders," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(4), pages 497-513, April.
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