The relationship between innovation and learning is a topic that has attracted the attention of many researchers. Successful innovation is defined by the integration of different but corresponding types of knowledge from a broad category of sources.
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Learning, on the other hand, makes a contribution to innovation by augmenting the depth and capacity of the available knowledge hence improving the potential for more innovations to be made.
According to Starbucks et al (2008), “inter-organizational learning enhances innovation by increasing the willingness to explore new ideas and develop new products in the firm”. For the learning process to be successful, there is a need for the corporation among the members of staff in the organization or at least those who are directly involved in the decision-making process.
There are different barriers related to alliances that contribute directly to the process of learning and innovation. One of these is the interpretation barrier where each individual has their own way of interpreting ideas which, sometimes, might be wrong (Starbucks et al, 2008). Interpretation involves expressing ones insights in words or through actions.
In most cases, people prefer to stick to their own interpretations. However, they may end up being persuaded to change when they are convinced of the shortcomings of their interpretations. This mostly affects the relationships in terms of social knowledge processes.
The other barrier is the intuition barrier which involves the psychological phenomena that come up as a result of the individual perception of the environment. This, according to Dierkes (2001), includes attributes such as; biasness, lack of motivation, fear of disadvantages, and personality or identity issues”.
These barriers most of the times tend to determine relationships between people as well as their compatibility. They define the characteristics of individuals and explain why some people do stuff in a certain way and why they do not do some things. Some people fail do take some actions not because they are wrong but simply because their personalities does not match up with the actions.
This explains the hardships experienced in learning alliances. An example of this is whereby a person would disagree with a newly developed school of thought not because it has moral problems but because their conscience cannot understand the whole idea. The result of this is non-compatibility problems which eventually leads to the severance of the alliance or the falling apart of the same.
Milburn (2010) suggests that the “experience at cooperating is essential to the management of collaborative ties in order to benefit from the resulting interdependencies and avoid various organizations difficulties associated with partner characteristics and alliance outcomes”. This element explains why there are some organizations that perform well in alliances while others are better managed solely.
The continuation of specific mutual capacities comes in handy when trying to establish the reasons behind the close collaboration elements in the attempt to develop “superior capabilities at managing particular organizational forms such as alliances” (Starbucks et al, 2008).
Dierkes (2001) further indicates that, collaborative knowledge has effects of the firms’ abilities to take part in tactical alliances which enable the understanding and adoption of appropriate procedures and mechanisms for; knowledge accumulation, transfer, interpretation and diffusion and ultimately learning and innovation”.
Dierkes, M., 2001. Handbook of Organizational Learning and Knowledge, University Press, Oxford
Milburn, P., 2010. The Role of Programme Directors as Academic Leaders. Active Learning in Higher Education. 11, 87-95.
Starbuck, W. H., Holloway, S., Whalen, P. S., & Tilleman, S. G., 2008). Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management, Edward Elgar Pub, Cheltenham, Glos, UK