Toward a learning‐based view of innovation

Zong Dai (Department of Management, Alfred University, Alfred, New York, USA)

Competitiveness Review

ISSN: 1059-5422

Publication date: 20 January 2012



The purpose of this paper is to identify learning‐based management innovation that is essential to the firm's competitive advantage, and to develop a conceptual model of learning‐enabled innovation and research propositions for future research.


This paper examines how four business firms develop their enterprise learning‐based innovation as a solution for a business crisis they face. The research methodology employs a fact‐based principle that combines quantitative and qualitative methods. Data were collected and analyzed at the corporate level of the subject organizations.


The cases in this study exemplify that in business crises a firm can be successful by developing a learning‐based innovation that is different from the classical paradigm of technology‐enabled innovation.

Research limitations/implications

The cases in this study are successful stories from the best practice in organizational learning. Even if learning‐enabled innovation successes were repeated in large numbers of cases, they would still be tentative research propositions for scientific exploration in the future.

Practical implications

The conceptual model of learning‐enabled innovation developed by this study would be practical and useful for business firms that seek a competitive solution for succeeding in a business crisis. A business or organizational transformation through learning‐based innovation would be much less painful than an ordinary organizational changing process and would more likely be successful.


This paper has tentatively developed a conceptual framework and a research proposition for future research in the learning‐based view of innovation.



Dai, Z. (2012), "Toward a learning‐based view of innovation", Competitiveness Review, Vol. 22 No. 1, pp. 18-27.

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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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