Albert A. Angehrn
Professor of Information Technology
Where do we put the present management focus? Take one of the most fundamental processes, Learning (the ultimate source of knowledge and innovation), and combine it with one of the most powerful structures enabling the dynamic creation and diffusion of value, Networks. What emerges is the concept of Learning Networks.The authors' initial research on Learning Networks (LN), indicated that such inter-organizational forms of knowledge creation and management can assume many different shapes and have been analyzed from various vantage points. For example, the strategic alliance literature has examined how learning in mergers and acquisitions evolves and how competitors can learn from each other; researchers in innovation management have studied from where and from whom the impetus for new knowledge comes and develops; the knowledge management literature has sought to understand better how and why individuals within a company share their knowledge; and finally, researchers in the field of learning, communities and technologies have analyzed how collaborative processes unfold in traditional as well as virtual contexts, shedding more light on the benefits and pitfalls of technology in the learning process. This article introduces a Special Issue of EMJ including the following 4 articles: (i) Learning in Online Forums, by G. DeSanctis, A.L. Fayard, M. Roach and L. Jiang; (ii) Conditions for Knowledge Sharing in Competitive Alliances, by M. Soekijad and E. Andriessen; (iii) Networks, Learning and the Lifecycle, by M. Benson-Rea and H. Wilson; (iv) Architecting and Managing Virtual Learning Networks: A Business Process-Oriented Approach to Legal Compliance, by B. Subirana and M. Bain.