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N-loop learning: part II – an empirical investigation

Bernard L. Simonin (Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts, USA)

The Learning Organization

ISSN: 0969-6474

Article publication date: 8 May 2017

Abstract

Purpose

Through a survey of firm’s experiences with strategic alliances and a structural equation modeling approach, the aim of this study is to stimulate further interest in modeling and empirical research in the area of N-loop learning. Although the concepts of single-loop and double-loop learning, in particular, are well established in the literature, limited research has been directed toward their empirical validation and finer understanding.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a large sample of technology firms, a MIMIC model is proposed and tested with respect to the development of collaborative know-how via the adoption and conduct of different structural choices on how to deploy strategic alliances (single-loop vs double-loop approach). Results are cross-validated.

Findings

Based on the results of two structural equation models, the findings support the fit of the proposed conceptual model and the notion that, overall, the greater the extent of double-loop over single-loop learning, the higher the level of collaborative know-how derived.

Originality/value

The call for the empirical investigation of N-loop learning is met by providing an example of survey-based research. The possible benefits of “double-loop” over “single-loop” learning are modeled and tested empirically.

Keywords

Citation

Simonin, B.L. (2017), "N-loop learning: part II – an empirical investigation", The Learning Organization, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 202-214. https://doi.org/10.1108/TLO-12-2016-0100

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited