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Creating and transferring knowledge for productivity improvement in factories (RV of 98/10/CIMSO)

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How can a firm accelerate its learning curve if knowledge about the production function is incomplete? This paper identifies a production line specifically set up to create technological knowledge about its production function through scientific experimentation (formal learning) as opposed to learning by doing. The organizational structure of this line was very successful in creating new technological knowledge. Formal learning resulted in huge productivity improvements. Replication of this organizational structure on three production lines in other plants within the same firm fell short of expectations. Formal learning did not result in productivity improvements. Conditions that seem to be critical for creating technological knowledge include management buy-in, a high quality ore to mine, and cross-functional absorptive capacity. Further, we found evidence of transfer of learning by doing to one production line, whereas formal learning was not transferred. We relate this finding to the recipient's absorptive capacity.

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en

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application/pdf

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http://flora.insead.edu/fichiersti_wp/inseadwp2000/2000-48.pdf

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Copyright INSEAD. All rights reserved