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Moingeon Bertrand

Overview

n the prologue, Chris Argyris proposes that developing a comprehensive theory of management requires integration between technical theories in management and the behavioral theories that delineate barriers to their implementation. As he notes, the contributors to this volume -- coming from both strategy and from organizational behavior -- have begun to forge such an integration.
 
The first section, 'Organizational Learning and Competitive Advantage', examines organizational learning processes and tacit knowledge as potential sources of competitive advantage. Edmondson and Moingeon propose that different kinds of learning processes are appropriate in different environments, and DiBella, Gould and Nevis show in a multi-company empirical study that organizations differ from one another based on the kinds of learning processes they employ. Spender explicates how tacit knowledge can function as a source of competitive advantage, and Baumard conducts case study research to elucidate some of the mechanisms by which this occurs. 
 
The second section, 'Organizational Learning and Strategic Capability', examines the resource-based view of the firm in some detail. Nanda provides a thoughtful review of definitions and terms, and describes the importance of the resource based view for current strategic thinking. Andreu and Ciborra show, through a study of information technologies, that capabilities and competencies are outcomes of learning processes, and are sustained by the organization's structure. Thirdly, Collis presents a formal economic argument that learning and tacit knowledge can provide economic rent or profit for firms. The shift toward a learning perspective is evident in each of these three papers. 
 
The final section, 'Strategic Change and Organizational Learning', focuses on implementing new strategies. The chapter by Beer, Eisenstat and Biggadike presents an innovative systems-based intervention methodology designed to enhance organizational learning and strategic change; it is a process designed to help executives align the corporate strategy with organizational structure. Orton operationalizes many of Weick's (1979) process categories, and explores the implications of a process view for managers and scholars interested in reorganizing and restructuring organizations. Finally, Phills explicates four cognitive processes in which strategy consultants engage as part of their efforts to help clients. Each of the three sections of the book includes a short introduction to provide further description of the papers and the relationships between them.