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1. Learning Aggregation (Phanish Puranam)

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

by Phanish Puranam - INSEAD

Prerecorded session

Live session

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What is “organizational” about organizational learning?

In this lecture, I cover organizational learning in terms of the aggregation of individual learning processes. Beginning with individual learning-by-doing and the concept of the “learning cycle” as a foundation, I then discuss social learning in groups (organizations) and distinguish between unified and distributed action groups (e.g., committees vs teams). Finally, I note an alternative to aggregation that can produce important differences between individual and organizational learning- the effect of context.

Required readings

Puranam P, Maciejovsky B (2017) Organizational Structure and Organizational Learning (Social Science Research Network, Rochester, NY).

Park. S and Puranam, P (2021) Self confirming biased beliefs in organizational learning by doing, (Complexity 2021)

Kocak, O. Levinthal, D. and Puranam, P. (2022) The dual challenge of search and coordination for organizational adaptation: How structures of influence matter (Forthcoming, Organization Science)

Discussion questions

  1. How should we study the effect of organization design on organizational learning?

  2. How should we disentangle the effects of context from aggregation in organizational learning?

Phanish will cover how to study learning as an aggregation process in his live lecture. As pre-requisite, please also ssee the first video in his lecture series on “Modeling Organizational Learning”. The first lecture is not technical and gives you the concepts you need to get the most out of his live lecture on aggregation. If you are interested in learning how to model org learning, the rest of the lectures are also available at the bottom of the same link, but these are not essential for preparing for his lecture in the CSOL academy.

Additional resources

Online courses

  1. On analysing organization design using the microstructural approach

  2. A technical course on how to build computational models of organizational learning

Optional readings

  1. Fang, C., Lee, J., & Schilling, M. A. (2010). Balancing exploration and exploitation through structural design: The isolation of subgroups and organizational learning. Organization Science, 21(3), 625-642.

  2. Friedkin, N (2011) A formal theory of reflected appraisals in the evolution of power, Administrative Science Quarterly 56 (4)501–529

  3. Piezunka, H., Aggarwal, V. A., & Posen, H. E. (2021). The aggregation-learning trade-off. Organization Science

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