Emeritus Professor of Marketing
IT consultants; Organizational learning; Structural modelling; Syntactic information search;
Typically, research on organizational learning has been conceptual in nature. In a departure from this tradition, the authors develop and test a structural model of organizational learning in the context of the purchasing of an expensive and complex product in the information technology (IT) area. The key focus of our research is the participation of external IT consultants and our model links seven explanatory constructs that are consistent with the process school of thought in organizational learning.More specifically, two organizational variables–formalization, strategic importance–and two individual-level variables–stakeholding, prior experience–are viewed as antecedents of consultant participation. In contrast, the authors view internal search effort, external search effort, and organizational learning as consequences of consultant participation. As predicted, all four antecedent variables affected consultant participation.Moreover, they found that, while consultant participation had a positive impact on internal search effort and organizational learning, its impact on external information search effort was negative.