Network learning:Exploring learning by interorganizational networks

Knight, Louise Network learning:Exploring learning by interorganizational networks. Human Relations, 55 (4), pp. 427-454.

Abstract

The importance of interorganizational networks in supporting or hindering the achievement of organizational objectives is now widely acknowledged. Network research is directed at understanding network processes and structures, and their impact upon performance. A key process is learning. The concepts of individual, group and organizational learning are long established. This article argues that learning might also usefully be regarded as occurring at a fourth system level, the interorganizational network. The concept of network learning - learning by a group of organizations as a group - is presented, and differentiated from other types of learning, notably interorganizational learning (learning in interorganizational contexts). Four cases of network learning are identified and analysed to provide insights into network learning processes and outcomes. It is proposed that 'network learning episode' offers a suitable unit of analysis for the empirical research needed to develop our understanding of this potentially important concept.

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