Journal Article | Academy of Management Journal | 55 | June 2012
Learning Sequences: Their Emergence, Evolution, and Efect
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, the authors address this gap. The core contribution is an emergent theoretical framework that develops the concept of learning sequences.The authors find that learning sequences exist and are influenced by initial conditions. The authors also find that learning sequences evolve in fundamentally distinct ways over time and with repeated use.Finally, data show how different learning sequences differentially affect both shorter- and longer-term performance, suggesting that it matters which learning processes are used and when.Overall, these findings on learning sequences have important implications for learning theory, international entrepreneurship, and the growing literature on process management.