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Article
Publication date: 18 June 2019

Dermot Breslin, Stephen Dobson and Nicola Smith

Understanding and predicting the behaviours of households within a community is a key concern for fire services as they plan to deliver effective and efficient public…

Abstract

Purpose

Understanding and predicting the behaviours of households within a community is a key concern for fire services as they plan to deliver effective and efficient public services. In this paper, an agent-based modelling approach is used to deepen understandings of changing patterns of behaviour within a community. The paper aims to discuss this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

This “Premonition” model draws on historical data of fire incidents and community interventions (e.g. home safety checks, fire safety campaigns, etc.) collated by South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, UK, to unpack patterns of changing household behaviours within the region.

Findings

Findings from simulations carried out using the Premonition model, show that by targeting close-knit groups of connected households, the effectiveness of preventative interventions and utilisation of associated resources is enhanced. Furthermore, by repeating these interventions with the same households over time, risk factors within the wider area are further reduced.

Originality/value

The study thus shows that annual repeat visits to fewer and more targeted high-risk postcodes increase the overall reduction in risk within an area, when compared with a scattered coverage approach using one-off (i.e. not repeat) household visits within a postcode.

Details

International Journal of Emergency Services, vol. 8 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2047-0894

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Article
Publication date: 2 August 2019

Dermot Breslin

Despite an increasing number of publications focusing on the phenomenon of entrepreneurial learning, it is still unclear how this learning process differs from wider…

Abstract

Purpose

Despite an increasing number of publications focusing on the phenomenon of entrepreneurial learning, it is still unclear how this learning process differs from wider organizational learning. This paper aims to address this gap by highlighting four key processual dimensions unique to entrepreneurial learning: intuiting, scanning, internalizing and routinizing.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on various conceptual and empirical papers published in this area over the past 20 years, common threads in the literature are identified, which point towards these four key dimensions of entrepreneurial learning.

Findings

It is thus argued that the ability of the entrepreneurial team to learn form and adapt to changes in the external market involves all four dimensions of intuiting, scanning, internalizing and routinizing. Intuiting involves drawing on prior knowledge to create new opportunity sets, and skills. These ideas and skills are then tested in the market, through scanning and market research. Internalizing allows the entrepreneurial team to question taken for granted assumptions, as existing ways of working and views of the world are continually adapted. Finally, routinization is the process whereby the entrepreneurial team accumulates a situated knowledge of the changing world around them, and in the process, frees up valuable cognitive resources, needed in the continual process of intuiting, scanning and internalizing.

Originality/value

It is argued that the adaptability of entrepreneurial ventures hinges on all four processual dimensions.

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. 26 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

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Article
Publication date: 20 July 2012

Dermot Breslin and Colin Jones

The purpose of this paper is to present an evolutionary perspective on entrepreneurial learning, whilst also accounting for fundamental ecological processes, by focusing…

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2038

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present an evolutionary perspective on entrepreneurial learning, whilst also accounting for fundamental ecological processes, by focusing on the development of key recurring, knowledge components within nascent and growing small businesses.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper relates key developments within the organizational evolution literature to research on entrepreneurial learning, with arguments presented in favor of adopting a multi‐level co‐evolutionary perspective that captures and explains hidden ecological process, such as niche‐construction.

Findings

It is argued in the paper that such a multi‐level focus on key recurring knowledge components can shed new light on the process of entrepreneurial learning and lead to the cross‐fertilization of ideas across different domains of study, by offering researchers the opportunity to use the framework of variation‐selection‐retention to develop a multi‐level representation of organizational and entrepreneurial learning.

Originality/value

Entrepreneurial learning viewed in this way, as a multi‐level struggle for survival amongst competing knowledge components, can provide entrepreneurs with a set of evolutionary heuristics as they re‐interpret their understanding of the evolution of their business.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 20 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

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Article
Publication date: 28 November 2018

Kate V. Morland, Dermot Breslin and Fionn Stevenson

This paper aims to examine multiple learning cycles across a UK housebuilder organization following changes made to their quality management routine at the organizational…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine multiple learning cycles across a UK housebuilder organization following changes made to their quality management routine at the organizational level, through to subsequent understanding and enactment at the level of the individuals involved.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses a qualitative case study methodology based on an analysis of six-weeks of participant observation, semi-structured ethnographic interviews and documentation within three of the organization’s regional offices. Through an abductive process, it draws on gathered data and extant literature to develop a multi-level learning model.

Findings

Four levels of learning cycles are observed within the model: individual, team (within which inter-organizational relationships nest), region and organization. Three inter-related factors are identified as influencing feed-forward and feedback across the levels: time, communication and trust. The impact of these levels and factors on the process of learning is conceptualized through the metaphor of coupling and decoupling and discussed using examples from housing development projects.

Originality/value

While previous models of organizational learning highlight important multi-level interaction effects, they do not explore how the different levels of learning synchronize over time for learning to move between them. This paper addresses this gap by shedding important light on how layers of learning synchronize and why and when this can occur within multi-level organizations.

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. 26 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 24 May 2017

Dermot Breslin

Interpreting venture creation as a process of learning allows potential entrepreneurs to help themselves, and develop the skills and competences they required for…

Abstract

Interpreting venture creation as a process of learning allows potential entrepreneurs to help themselves, and develop the skills and competences they required for business. The effectiveness of a learning-based approach to enterprise education is explored here. This study examines changing perceptions and performances of business students as they complete a new venture creation module. In this course, students are invited to interpret the start-up process as a process of learning, using an evolutionary metaphor. Several key findings were revealed. First, the evolutionary learning approach increased the self-efficacy of participants, as their self-belief and confidence in their ideas and abilities increased over the course of the module. This increase was even more pronounced within a sub-group who started their businesses within six months of completion of the course. Second, by adopting the ‘learning to evolve’ approach, participants increasingly focused changes made to their ideas on marketing-related issues. The more the individual focused on marketing as a source of change, the better the improvement in quality of the idea. This research has implications for enterprise educators and practicing entrepreneurs. When one shifts the focus of attention to the external world, and when changes are driven by signals from that external world, the quality of emerging opportunities is enhanced. Moreover, self-efficacy increases as nascent entrepreneurs gain confidence and self-belief both in their ideas, and the skills needed to make them happen. The shift in perspective towards the external market is the key driver in triggering the entrepreneurial process. The approach thus promotes the notion that the entrepreneurship option is open to all who can ‘learn to evolve’.

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Abstract

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 20 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

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Article
Publication date: 20 July 2012

Gianpaolo Abatecola

The purpose of the article is to contribute to the debate on organizational adaptation by providing both scholars and practitioners with reasoned observations as to where…

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1181

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the article is to contribute to the debate on organizational adaptation by providing both scholars and practitioners with reasoned observations as to where this research domain is and, perhaps, could be going, and as to what important questions and gaps still exist in this research area.

Design/methodology/approach

The article tries to inform the conversation through updating the lenses of the “determinism versus voluntarism” approach seminally used by Astley and Ven de Ven for commenting on the state of the art in the 1980s. In particular, the article aims at enhancing the debate through a timely critical discussion of the extant literature, whose comparative analysis starts from the 1960s.

Findings

The analysis mainly indicates that, since Astley and Van de Ven's milestone, the dichotomy between determinism and voluntarism has been reduced, although it still exists. The co‐evolutionary approach can constitute a promising tool for the further reducing of the dichotomy, but more research seems to be needed to improve its utility.

Originality/value

The key contribution of this article is that it tries to shed light on how and why the discussed schools of thought have been theoretically and empirically evolving, what issues they have mainly addressed and if some visible or invisible colleges can be found among them. Moreover, the article analyses what scholarly positions still remain dichotomous to date and what positions scholars have reconciled, either totally or partially. Finally, it also proposes some possible avenues for further investigations within this research domain.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 20 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

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Article
Publication date: 27 July 2010

Dermot Breslin

The purpose of this paper is to critically evaluate the use of the evolutionary approach, and in particular the generalisation of Darwinian principles beyond biology to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to critically evaluate the use of the evolutionary approach, and in particular the generalisation of Darwinian principles beyond biology to study socio‐cultural change.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents a review of developments in generalising Darwinism to study socio‐cultural change, including key criticisms against using the approach. In the process key disagreements between the different conceptual approaches taken by evolutionary scholars, and key criticisms against using an evolutionary approach are highlighted.

Findings

It was seen that a number of critics fail to grasp the abstracted concept of Universal and Generalised Darwinism, focusing their arguments on detailed differences between socio‐cultural and biological evolution. Future research within the field should be directed towards building consensus regarding the definitions of key concepts, and using detailed empirical investigations to shed light on the usefulness of the different approaches taken for research and practice.

Originality/value

The key contribution of this paper is the presentation of a critical review of developments made in generalising Darwinism. It is further argued that the universal appeal of the approach offers researchers an opportunity for cross‐fertilising ideas, generating new insights across disciplines and learning from developments being made in parallel fields of study.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 30 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 9 March 2010

Dermot Breslin

Research has shown that the assimilation of managers into the growing small business is a process fraught with difficulty. The purpose of this paper is to use the…

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1409

Abstract

Purpose

Research has shown that the assimilation of managers into the growing small business is a process fraught with difficulty. The purpose of this paper is to use the evolutionary approach to shed new light on the process in which the management team broadens in a growing small firm.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper puts forward a conceptualisation of the units of analysis, namely habits and heuristics. Then using a case study approach, these concepts are operationalised to describe the process in which the management team broadens in a growing porcelain company. An analysis of the findings is then be organised around the evolutionary mechanisms of variation, selection and retention.

Findings

It was seen that existing habits, routines and heuristics acted in a policing fashion to resist variation introduced by the newly arriving manger. This resistance led to the failure of the firm to vary practices in line with changes in the marketplace.

Research limitations/implications

By focusing on the evolution of habits, routines and heuristics, and the fit between these concepts and the changing external world, new insights can be gained on the broadening process and ultimately the survival of the organisation.

Originality/value

It is argued that the approach taken in this paper promotes more theory‐driven research with a strong focus on process and context, and can build on both the behaviour‐based and learning‐based approaches by allowing multi‐level analysis of the process in which the management team broadens.

Details

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2554

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 20 July 2012

Stephen Dobson

The analogy of the city as an evolving system is an enduring one that is both universally acknowledged and greatly researched in equal measure. The purpose of this paper…

Abstract

Purpose

The analogy of the city as an evolving system is an enduring one that is both universally acknowledged and greatly researched in equal measure. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the potential for urban characterization studies, emerging from the fields of cultural heritage and landscape, to provide a rich source of data for exploring the characteristics of spatial adaptation and innovation over time.

Design/methodology/approach

An analysis of commercial organizational space in the city of Sheffield, UK is provided here as the subject of study which employs English Heritage's Historic Landscape Characterization dataset to explore temporal characteristics of commercial space within a broader context of change, at the city‐wide scale.

Findings

It is proposed here that to achieve culturally sustainable development against a context of urban “deterritorialization” and homogenization the very character and distinctiveness of innovation and change needs to be explicitly acknowledged. An evolutionary approach to organizational space is suggested here as a means to locate such adaptation and spatial change in “place”.

Originality/value

It is hoped that the approach presented may provide an important stage in thinking about the spatial relationships between business and society over time and particularly their interdependence within a city ecology. The scope is therefore to explore multi‐level evolutionary characteristics of socio‐cultural space, appreciating multi‐scale temporal change through a broad lens of Darwinism.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 20 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

Keywords

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