Learning: What and How? An Empirical Study of Adjustments in Workplace Organization Structure




    Search for more papers by this author
    •  The authors' affiliations are, respectively, Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, and Department of Economics, University of Waterloo. E-mail: benne001@umn.edu.


We seek to understand how firms learn about what adjustments they need to make in their organization structure at the workplace level. We define four organizational systems: traditional (the simplest system), high-performance (the most complex system), decision-making oriented, and financial-incentives oriented (intermediate complexity). We analyze (1) learning-by-doing on adoption of more or less complex systems, (2) the performance–experience learning curves associated with different systems, (3) the match between perceived organizational capabilities and the choice of systems, the influence of (4) other firms’ systems and performance on a firm’s adjustment decisions, and of (5) a firm’s location on its decisions.