Session 210

The Complex Roles of Experience

Track I

Date: Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Time: 14:30 – 15:45

Common Ground

Room: Meeting Room 12

Sidney Winter, University of Pennsylvania

Title: Creating Blockbusters? Experiential Learning and Creative and Commercial Performance In Hollywood


  • Michael Mannor, University of Notre Dame

Abstract: This study explores the influence of different types of organizational experiential learning on creative and commercial performance in Hollywood. Building from experiential learning theory, several perspectives are advanced, including the idea that the influence of different types of experience on different elements of performance can vary widely. Data from the Hollywood motion picture industry is used to evaluate these perspectives. Results provide limited support for a universal perspective, suggesting that this may be only one piece of the puzzle. Instead, preliminary results provide strong evidence for the importance of various contingencies in this relationship, including the type of experience (depth vs. breadth), the type of performance assessment (creative or commercial), and the locus of performance evaluation (internal reference points or market-based comparisons).

Title: Depth, Breadth, and Diversity: Experiential Learning and Knowledge Creation in the Pharmaceutical Industry


  • Michael Mannor, University of Notre Dame

Abstract: This research explores the influence of different types of organizational experience on knowledge creation in the pharmaceutical industry. Extending beyond traditional approaches, in this research I explore how different types of organizational experience (experiential depth, breadth, and diversity) influence the rate and impact of knowledge creation in the pharmaceutical industry. Results from 20 years of data provide support for the independent and significantly divergent influences of experience depth and breadth on the rate of new knowledge creation and the impact of such knowledge. In addition, several forms of experiential diversity are found to help promote both the rate and impact of knowledge creation in the pharmaceutical industry, though these effects are often found to have diminishing influence at high levels of diversity.

Title: Examining Variability in Routine Performances: The Roles of Context Dependence and Experience


  • Scott Turner, University of South Carolina
  • Michael Fern, Santa Clara University

Abstract: In strategy and organizational theory, routines are a foundational concept. This study examines how context dependence shapes the variability of routine performances, which reflects divergence across multiple performances of a given routine. Specifically, we consider how two forms of context dependence shape the variability of routine performances, and how these effects are conditional on the performance experience of actors. We argue that variability of routine performances is positively influenced by changes in the supporting context and negatively influenced by pressure in the surrounding context, and that the performance experience of actors reinforces the effects of both forms of context dependence. Our results from the solid waste collection sector are broadly consistent with our arguments, and offer implications for the routines and capabilities literatures.

Title: Firm Capabilities and Experience Quality


  • Scott Rockart, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Nilanjana Dutt, Bocconi University

Abstract: Organizational efficiency generally increases with cumulative experience (Wright 1936; Argote and Epple 1990). While early research focused on the quantity of a firm’s experiences, more recent research has shifted attention to the kind of a firm’s experiences. Only some of a firm’s possible experiences guide attention well, leading to accurate beliefs and successful choices (Ocasio 1997, Leavitt 1975, Christensen & Rosenbloom 1995). In this paper we further elaborate differences among experiences, arguing that firms’ experiences differ not only in quantity and kind (what lessons those experiences convey) but also in quality (how thoroughly and effectively they convey lessons of a similar kind). We use interviews and archival data on investment banks and their clients to link the quality of a firm’s experiences to their capabilities.

Title: Organizational Experience in the US TV industry, 1950-2002


  • Samira Dias dos Reis, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

Abstract: This study analyzes how organizational experience affects the likelihood of a future sale and product performance. In contrast to prior studies, which have analyzed selling and production processes separately, I propose that product performance emerges from both processes. Faced with uncertainty about the quality of new products, buyers make judgments about the quality of ideas on the basis of the organizational experience of the companies introducing them. Companies with the experience that buyers prefer nevertheless do not necessarily perform better than otherwise comparable organizations without such experience. Results of an empirical examination reveal that past success and diverse experience affect in distinct ways the likelihood of selling an idea for a new show and the performance of those shows. These two types of experience can, however, act as complements. These findings highlight the key role buyers’ perceptions play in product performance.

All Sessions in Track I...

Sun: 10:00 – 11:30
Session 264: Strategy in an Uncertain World: “Black Swan” Implications for K&I Scholars
Sun: 13:00 – 14:30
Session 265: The Changing Governance Landscape: Implications for Knowledge and Innovation Scholars
Sun: 15:00 – 16:30
Session 266: Integrating Theories of Problem Formation
Sun: 16:30 – 17:30
Session 313: Knowledge & Innovation, IG Meeting
Mon: 12:45 – 14:00
Session 201: 50th Anniversary of Penrose's (1959) The Theory of the Growth of the Firm
Session 212: Technological Innovation
Mon: 15:45 – 17:00
Session 218: Let the Knowledge Flow...
Session 223: Exploration and Novelty
Mon: 17:15 – 18:30
Session 209: Learning and Collaboration
Session 221: Innovation and Management Practice
Tue: 10:00 – 11:15
Session 202: Microfoundations of Knowledge and Learning
Session 235: Regulating the Market for Ideas: The Role of Communities, Norms, and Networks
Tue: 11:30 – 12:45
Session 203: Dynamic Capabilities
Session 224: Governing Knowledge
Tue: 14:30 – 15:45
Session 207: How Do Capabilities Develop?
Session 210: The Complex Roles of Experience
Wed: 10:00 – 11:15
Session 211: Knowledge Transfer
Session 215: Knowledge-Based Strategic Interaction
Wed: 11:30 – 12:45
Session 213: The Human Factor in Knowledge and Innovation
Session 219: Ambidexterity

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