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Learning and Knowledge Depreciation in Professional Services

Listed author(s):
  • Tonya Boone

    ()

    (Mason School of Business, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia 23187)

  • Ram Ganeshan

    ()

    (Mason School of Business, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia 23187)

  • Robert L. Hicks

    ()

    (Department of Economics and Thomas Jefferson School of Public Policy, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia 23187)

Organizational knowledge is a critical source of competitive advantage for professional service firms. Learning from experience and sustaining past knowledge are critical to the success of such knowledge-driven firms. We use learning curve theory to evaluate learning and depreciation in professional services. Our results, based on seven years of project data collected from an architectural engineering (A/E) firm, show that (a) professional services exhibit learning curves, (b) there is virtually no depreciation of knowledge and, (c) the rate of learning accelerates with experience.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1070.0849
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Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

Volume (Year): 54 (2008)
Issue (Month): 7 (July)
Pages: 1231-1236

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Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:54:y:2008:i:7:p:1231-1236
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  1. Vuong, Quang H, 1989. "Likelihood Ratio Tests for Model Selection and Non-nested Hypotheses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 307-333, March.
  2. 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.
  3. C. Lanier Benkard, 2000. "Learning and Forgetting: The Dynamics of Aircraft Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 1034-1054, September.
  4. Elie Ofek & Miklos Sarvary, 2001. "Leveraging the Customer Base: Creating Competitive Advantage Through Knowledge Management," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(11), pages 1441-1456, November.
  5. Linda Argote & Sara L. Beckman & Dennis Epple, 1990. "The Persistence and Transfer of Learning in Industrial Settings," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(2), pages 140-154, February.
  6. 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.
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