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Connecting organizational learning and open innovation research: an integrative framework and insights from case studies of strategic alliances

Giulio Ferrigno (Department of Economics and Business Management Sciences, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan, Italy)
Nicola Del Sarto (Department EMbeDS, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Institute of Management, Pisa, Italy)
Valentina Cucino (Department EMbeDS, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Institute of Management, Pisa, Italy)
Andrea Piccaluga (Department EMbeDS, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Institute of Management, Pisa, Italy)

The Learning Organization

ISSN: 0969-6474

Article publication date: 12 July 2022

Issue publication date: 12 December 2022

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to combine open innovation (OI) and organizational learning (OL) literature in the context of strategic alliances.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors develop a conceptual framework that links OI to OL literatures. The authors empirically validate this framework through four representative cases of dyadic strategic alliances in which the allied partners have (mainly) adopted an inbound or outbound OI strategy and (mainly) used an experiential or experimental learning approach to access knowledge in the alliance.

Findings

The authors propose and validate a framework that links two well-known OI strategies (inbound and outbound) and two types of OL, namely, experiential and experimental learning. This, in turn, allows us to propose four different typologies of learning opportunities that could be pursued by alliance partners.

Research limitations/implications

The research offers a framework that links experiential and experimental learning to inbound and outbound OI strategies. However, the authors focused on inbound and outbound OI. The authors are aware that sometimes coupled innovation could take place in alliances.

Practical implications

This study proposes best practices for companies willing to open their innovation processes with alliance partners by bearing in mind the learning outcomes that may be exploited through the alliance.

Originality/value

This study highlights four alliance archetypes emerging from the nexus between OI strategies to OL methods.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

For helpful suggestions on previous versions of this paper, the authors recognize TLO associate editor and the three anonymous reviwers. The paper has also benefited from comments of participants to 2021 SIMA Management Conference in Palermo.

Citation

Ferrigno, G., Del Sarto, N., Cucino, V. and Piccaluga, A. (2022), "Connecting organizational learning and open innovation research: an integrative framework and insights from case studies of strategic alliances", The Learning Organization, Vol. 29 No. 6, pp. 615-634. https://doi.org/10.1108/TLO-03-2021-0030

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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