Factors influencing organizational vicarious learning mechanism effectiveness
Voit, John R
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Vicarious learning allows an individual to modify their actions through observing others' behavior and the resulting consequences. As organizations become larger it becomes increasingly difficult to share lessons learned across their disconnected units allowing individuals to vicariously learn from each other's experiences. In an effort to promote vicarious learning, organizations create electronic lesson learned repositories and workflow tools to share information among disconnected individuals and groups. These systems are started with the best of intentions, spending significant resources. However, these efforts often create stand-alone systems that are disconnected from enterprise decision-making processes, resulting in minimal impact. Alternatively, organizations may rely on individuals and groups to amplify the benefits of lessons learned, but this is also not without its challenges. The aim of this research is to understand how alternative sociotechnical strategies affect the review and subsequent adoption of lessons learned resulting in vicarious learning. This dissertation develops a lesson learned process model based on problem solving and knowledge creation perspectives. This model supports a multi-method research approach to study existing lesson learned programs. A theory is developed and tested to understand factors that influence recipients' vicarious learning behaviors related to information review and adoption. The results show strong support that both the human intermediary activities and the technical information communicated impact the recipient behaviors that amplify the benefits of lessons learned.