Problems of Learning Organisations Producing Complex Product Systems
Brady, Tim and Shapiro, Gillian (2003) Problems of Learning Organisations Producing Complex Product Systems In: Gibson, David V., Stolp, Chandler, Conceicao, Pedro and Heitor, Manuel V., eds. Systems and Policies for the Global Learning Economy. International Series on Technology Policy and Innovation . Praeger Publishers, London, UK, pp. 537-555. ISBN 1567204767
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Much of the literature and advice on organisational learning assumes a single organisation which carries out repeated processes as typically found in mass production industries. This chapter is concerned specifically with firms who are involved in the design and development of Complex Products Systems (CoPS) which differ from mass-produced goods in a number of ways, which mean that assumptions based on mass-produced goods may be invalid when applied to CoPS. Furthermore, much of the knowledge needed to produce CoPS is embedded in individuals and teams (Nightingale, 1997a, 1997b; Vincenti, 1990), whereas in mass production the learning becomes embodied in the machines and systems producing the goods. The chapter begins with a brief section describing the characteristics of CoPS and the key differences to mass-produced goods and how this creates specific difficulties for learning in CoPS. The next two sections provide an examination of the literature on organisational learning and knowledge creation as far as it is relevant to the specific problems of CoPS firms related to interproject learning. The final section discusses the implications for learning in CoPS.
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