MORSE Seminar. Industry-Level Variability of Learning Outcomes from the Accumulation of Implementation Experience with an Administrative Innovation

Istituto di management e organizzazione

Data d'inizio: 22 Dicembre 2011

Data di fine: 23 Dicembre 2011

Thursday, 22 December
Room 250, Lugano Campus

This paper tests theory about industry-level variability in learning outcomes following the implementation of a major administrative innovation. We challenge the intuition that early periods will be marked by more variation than later periods. We propose that ongoing organizational learning from vicarious experience, learning from direct experience and learning in the presence of population-level learning can create greater industry-level variation in learning outcomes. Contingency factors that can shape variability in learning outcomes include the use of varied imitation rules, deliberate innovation, interactions between innovation features and interactions between levels of learning. We test our framework using data on the farm-system, a massively impactful administrative innovation implemented in the U.S. baseball industry starting in the 1920s. Results show greater industry-level variation in a key innovation feature in the later period of accumulated implementation experience, consistent with our theory. Later period industry-level performance variation was lower, however. We speculate that this pattern is consistent with the potential impact of selective vicarious learning and deliberate experimentation. These contingency factors can generate divergence of an innovation feature coupled with improvement and convergence of performance. Understanding contingency factors for industry-level variability is important given the key role of industry variability in industry level adaptation.