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Diversifying into technical clothing manufacture as entrepreneurial learning : A situated learning theory perspective

Nicholas Theodorakopoulos (Aston Business School, Aston University, Birmingham, UK)
Carmel McGowan (UWL Business School, University of West London, London, UK)
David Bennett (Department of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden; and Adjunct Professor, International Graduate School of Business, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia)
Nada Kakabadse (Henley Business School, University of Reading, Henley-on-Thames, UK)
Catarina Figueira (Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University, Cranfield, UK)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Article publication date: 27 May 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate analytically how entrepreneurial action as learning relating to diversifying into technical clothing – i.e. a high-value manufacturing sector – can take place. This is particularly relevant to recent discussion and debate in academic and policy-making circles concerning the survival of the clothing manufacture industry in developed industrialised countries.

Design/methodology/approach

Using situated learning theory (SLT) as the major analytical lens, this case study examines an episode of entrepreneurial action relating to diversification into a high-value manufacturing sector. It is considered on instrumentality grounds, revealing wider tendencies in the management of knowledge and capabilities requisite for effective entrepreneurial action of this kind.

Findings

Boundary events, brokers, boundary objects, membership structures and inclusive participation that addresses power asymmetries are found to be crucial organisational design elements, enabling the development of inter- and intracommunal capacities. These together constitute a dynamic learning capability, which underpins entrepreneurial action, such as diversification into high-value manufacturing sectors.

Originality/value

Through a refinement of SLT in the context of entrepreneurial action, the paper contributes to an advancement of a substantive theory of managing technological knowledge and capabilities for effective diversification into high-value manufacturing sectors.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Thanks are due to the Centre for Enterprise for supporting the study upon which this paper is based.

Citation

Theodorakopoulos, N., McGowan, C., Bennett, D., Kakabadse, N. and Figueira, C. (2014), "Diversifying into technical clothing manufacture as entrepreneurial learning : A situated learning theory perspective", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 25 No. 5, pp. 676-693. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMTM-09-2013-0122

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited