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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues
Research
Jan 17, 2018

Goal-Relatedness and Learning: Evidence from Hospitals

Abstract

Organizations vary significantly in the rates at which they learn from experience (i.e., learning by doing). While prior work has explored how different categories of prior experience affect learning outcomes, limited attention has been paid to the role played by the organizational context. We focus on one important aspect of an organization’s context—goals—and examine how the degree of goal relatedness across an organization’s diverse set of activities affects the rate at which it learns from experience. In doing so, we argue that even where otherwise diverse activities are knowledge related, if they are not goal related, learning by doing is likely to suffer. Using data from the hospital industry our findings suggest that goal relatedness is an important consideration when it comes to learning. Although goal-related teaching aids learning by doing in clinical care, we find that strong academic affiliations (and the research-oriented tasks and goals they bring with them) may detract from it.

 


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