Team Learning and Superior Firm Performance: A Meso-Level Perspective on Dynamic Capabilities

51 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2018 Last revised: 29 Jan 2020

See all articles by Jean-François Harvey

Jean-François Harvey

HEC Montreal

Henrik Bresman

INSEAD - Organisational Behavior

Amy C. Edmondson

Harvard University - Technology & Operations Management Unit

Gary P. Pisano

Harvard Business School

Date Written: January 25, 2020

Abstract

This paper proposes a team-based, meso-level perspective on dynamic capabilities. We argue that team-learning routines constitute a critical link between managerial cognition and organization-level processes of sensing, seizing, and reconfiguring. We draw from the literature to develop four categories based on the orientation (exploration/exploitation) and locus (internal/external) of learning in teams: reflexive, experimental, contextual, and vicarious learning. We integrate these categories into the dynamic capabilities framework, propose that their relative importance differs along the sensing-seizing-reconfiguring pathway, and assess their impact on innovation and strategic change. Our framework contributes by adding a meso lens to research on dynamic capabilities, thereby offering an explanation for how senior managers’ cognitive abilities can produce superior firm performance, through learning in teams.

Keywords: Dynamic capabilities, Innovation, Strategic change, Teams, Team learning

Suggested Citation

Harvey, Jean-François and Bresman, Henrik and Edmondson, Amy C. and Pisano, Gary, Team Learning and Superior Firm Performance: A Meso-Level Perspective on Dynamic Capabilities (January 25, 2020). Harvard Business School Technology & Operations Mgt. Unit Working Paper No. 19-059, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3298987 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3298987

Jean-François Harvey

HEC Montreal ( email )

3000, Chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine
Montreal, Quebec H2X 2L3
Canada

Henrik Bresman

INSEAD - Organisational Behavior ( email )

Finance area, Boulevard de Constance
Fontainebleau 77305
France

Amy C. Edmondson (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Technology & Operations Management Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States

Gary Pisano

Harvard Business School ( email )

Technology & Operations Management Unit
Morgan Hall
Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6562 (Phone)
617-496-5265 (Fax)

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