Organizational strategic learning capability
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Organizations must be extremely agile in the rapidly shifting global context of 21st century business. To do this, organizations must approach strategy making from a learning approach and develop strategic learning capability—the capacity of an organization to retool rapidly to create and execute new strategy through learning at the individual and system levels in response to changes and uncertainties in complex environments. While the literature related to strategic learning has grown during the past decade, knowledge around strategic learning capability needs elaboration so that scholars and leaders can more deeply understand what it really is, how it works, and how best to facilitate it. This study was designed to conceptualize strategic learning capability by translating and interpreting the related literature to develop empirical dimensions that could be tested and used in a survey instrument. The resulting survey instrument included fifty-nine items that were developed through a review of the literature, a brainstorming session of HRD practitioners, and communications with experts in the field and committee members. The instrument also included ten items concerning financial and knowledge performance (Watkins & Marsick, 1997) to examine the predictability of strategic learning capability on outcome variables. 237 organizational leaders involved in or able to judge strategy making from a variety of types of organizations were utilized for this study. Based on responses on a five-point performance scale, strategic learning capability items were identified and prioritized, and seven dimensions were discovered: (1) External Focus, (2) Strategic Dialogue, (3) Strategic Engagement, (4) Customer-Centric Strategy, (5) Disciplined Imagination, (6) Experiential Learning, and (7) Reflective Responsiveness. In addition, the potential predictability of strategic learning capability dimensions on financial and knowledge performance were further investigated. Finally, mean differences in the seven dimensions of strategic learning capability by organizational and individual characteristics were tested.
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