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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues
Research
Jun 1, 2012

Learning Sequences: Their Existence, Effect, and Evolution

Abstract

Much is known about the importance of learning and some of the distinct learning processes that organizations use (e.g., trial-and-error learning, vicarious learning, experimental learning, and improvisational learning). Yet surprisingly little is known about whether these processes combine over time in ordered ways, because most research on learning explores one particular process. Using theory elaboration and theory-building methods and data on the accumulated country entries of entrepreneurial firms, we address this gap. Our core contribution is an emergent theoretical framework that develops the concept of learning sequences. We find that learning sequences exist and are influenced by initial conditions. We also find that learning sequences evolve in fundamentally distinct ways over time and with repeated use. Finally, data show how different learning sequences deferentially affect both shorter- and longer-term performance, suggesting that it matters which learning processes are used and when. Overall, our findings on learning sequences have important implications for learning theory, international entrepreneurship, and the growing literature on process management.

Citation

Bingham, C B, & Davis, J. P. (2012). Learning sequences: their existence, effect, and evolution. Academy of Management Journal, 55(3), 611–641. doi:10.5465/amj.2009.0331


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