Inter-organizational learning in drifting environments - Experiences from a multi-firm software development project
This paper examines conditions under which organizations can acquire and profitably utilise knowledge generated in joint product development ventures. Past research states that such learning depends on relationships between knowledge accumulation at the level of joint venture and the evolution of knowledge structures in the wider organizational environment. An important argument of this paper is that such relationships might drift abruptly due to unforeseen events taking place during project operation, creating new challenges and opportunities for learning. Drawing upon previous research on project-based learning, the paper proposes a model of interorganizational learning aimed to help managers and researchers visualising links between drift and learning in distributed project contexts. The paper illustrates and assesses the empirical relevance of the analytical framework through a case study of a multi-firm product development project in the European software industry.
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