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The link between self-managed work teams and learning organisations using performance indicators
Formerly of Edith Cowan University, Churchlands Campus, Perth, Australia, and
Graduate Management Programs, Edith Cowan University, Churchlands Campus, Perth, Australia
Keywords Learning organizations, Self managing teams, Team performance Abstract Both the learning organization literature and the self-managed work team literature have alluded to the potential links between teamwork and learning. However, as yet the link between these two concepts remains undeveloped. This study uses a survey of a random sample of 200 Australian organizations to empirically examine the relationships between self-managed work teams and the learning organization using performance indicators as a medium. It was found that the learning organization concept displays a moderate to strong link with three measures of performance used in this study: knowledge performance, ﬁnancial performance and customer satisfaction. Although the self-managed work team concept did not display any signiﬁcant relationship with performance, the qualitative component of the survey did emphasize that there is a common belief that self-managed teams can increase performance in the right setting. While an insigniﬁcant relationship between self-managed teams and the learning organization was also found, this study suggests some methodological concerns for future research into the relationship between self-managed teams and the learning organization.
The Learning Organization Vol. 11 No. 3, 2004 pp. 244-259 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0969-6474 DOI 10.1108/09696470410533003
Introduction Given today’s increasingly turbulent and competitive global environment, organizations have turned to a variety of new management techniques and alternate ways of structuring to obtain a competitive advantage. Two of these work designs are the self-managed work team and the learning organization. The widespread use of self-managed work teams (SMWTs) has been reported in the US (Elmuti, 1997) and in Australia. Accordingly, assessing the relationship between self-managed work teams and performance has been a popular topic. Numerous empirical studies have linked the self-managed work team concept to various types of performance (Glassop, 2002). However, more recent empirical studies have suggested that the promise of self-managed work teams may be oversold in the literature (Godard, 2001). Resolving the ongoing debate about self-managed work teams’ contribution to performance is important to make certain that managers are knowledgeable of the impact that self-managed work teams have on various performance outcomes. Over the last decade or so, study has also proliferated on the learning organization concept (Watkins and Marsick, 1993, 1999). Most work in the area has been purely descriptive and focused on the theoretical signiﬁcance of the learning organization
In doing so. 1993. and (3) organizational level (Watkins and Marsick. 1996. Self-managed teams and the learning organization The learning organization literature emphasizes that learning is essential at each of three levels: (1) the individual. 1999). Senge (1990) deﬁnes team learning as reﬂecting on action as a team and transforming collective thinking skill so that the team can develop intelligence and ability greater than the sum of individual members’ talents. 1997) have alluded to the potential links between teamwork and learning. the dearth of empirical research in the ﬁeld has left the relationship between self-managed teams and the learning organization untouched and in need of development. identifying the numerous phases that the team progresses through until they ﬁnally reach the pinnacle of a “team think” team. Kasl et al. (2) team. This study answers repeated calls by scholars for more empirical research linking self-managed work teams (Glassop. concluding in both of these papers that more research is needed in the area. 1996. 1990) and the self-managed work team literature (Wageman.. These two models identify that SMWT’s relationship to learning is a gradual one. they both conclude that more research is needed in the area. Although the importance of the team level in the learning organization has been noted widely (Watkins and Marsick. 1999). While these studies have conﬁrmed some positive links between the learning organization and performance. this review will focus on the relationship between the team level of the learning organization and its relationship to SMWTs and performance. Neck et al. 2002) and the learning organization (Ellinger et al.(Watkins and Marsick. This research is needed to convince managers of the practical signiﬁcance of the learning organization. this study takes a broad range of indicators into account to assess their relationship to self-managed teams and the learning organization. Empirical research by Edmondson (1996. Despite some descriptive insight into the relationship between teams and the learning organization (Watkins and Marsick. which features constructive synergistic thinking and the highest levels of performance. empirical studies have begun to assess the learning organization’s relationship to various measures of performance (Ellinger et al.
. 2002). Both the learning organization literature (Senge. 2002) in particular has attempted to bridge the relationship between teams and learning. 2002) to various performance indicators. Senge (1990) pays particular tribute to its role in the learning organization. but not always. (1997) similarly note the developmental process of the self-managed team. More recently. This deﬁnition particularly notes the importance of “synergy” in team learning. It has been shown that teams typically progress through developmental stages and that team learning is a gradual process. ﬁnally arriving at the “continuous team learning” stage.. 1996). A well-developed SMWT will eventually. 1999). However. 1993. (1997) explain that performance gradually improves as teams move from a fragmented stage to pooled and synergistic stages. as yet the link between these two concepts remains undeveloped. While each of these levels is essential. 1993. 1996.
as groups often fail to communicate with other levels of the organization. 1993). Edmondson (2002) notes that while some teams contribute to organizational learning and overall effectiveness. self-managed model (Watkins and Marsick. 49) furthers the links between SMWTs and learning. It has been noted that innovative organizations have been moving from a traditional learning model to a more learner-centered. More recently. Watkins and Marsick. 1993. 1999). Liebeskind (1996) has similarly noted that competitive advantage can be generated from the ﬁrm’s ability to support and foster team knowledge. p.
This study found that the use of empowered teams with knowledge showed important links with innovation. “much can go wrong in the process” (p. numerous scholars still note that team level learning activities are expected to lead to better performance (Isaacs.
Despite this apparent lack of research. as most recently observed by Edmondson (2002. there is a lack of study in the area.g. because members of self-managing teams have the latitude to experiment with their work and to develop strategies that are uniquely suited to tasks”. In Stata’s (1989) review of Analog Devices Incorporated. a study of 12 organization teams also conducted by Edmondson (2002) found that team member’s perceptions of power and interpersonal risk affect the quality of team reﬂection and organizational learning. 1993). stating that “self-managing teams enhance organizational learning and adaptability. 129) who states that:
The proposition that teams are the unit of organization learning has remained largely underdeveloped. Edmondson’s (1996) study into norms for detecting and correcting medication errors in hospitals found that team norm characteristics have the potential to limit organizational learning about how to prevent medication errors in the future. This ﬁnding is congruent with that of Ancona and Caldwell (1992) of performance in organizational teams. 144). 70). However. the descriptive nature of their reports do not identify conclusive evidence of any clear link. In concluding. While both of these comments provide insight into the relationship between SMWTs and the learning organization. 1996.TLO 11. with limited empirical research on team learning in real organizations and a lack of theoretical work on how different kinds of teams and team processes affect organizational adaptation. At this stage the SMWT experiences high levels of learning and a strong contribution to the overall success of the learning organization.3
arrive at the continuous team learning stage or team think stage. p. Team learning and performance Some empirical studies can be identiﬁed that assess the relationship between team learning and performance. The empirical studies in the area generally agree that the relationship between teams and learning is not as harmonious as many descriptive pieces tell us (e. Wageman (1997.
. the move toward becoming an innovative learning organization through the use of a self-managed model is clearly stated:
We have found the best way to introduce knowledge and modify behaviour is by working with small teams that have the power and resources to enact change (p. which concluded that team learning does not necessarily translate to organizational learning.
. SMWT) and organizational learning. and organizational learning. Thus. continuous improvement. The proactive orientation caused by employee empowerment is the key link in this research to team learning.While no speciﬁc studies have assessed SMWTs relationship to learning. 2001. McGrath’s (2001) study of 56 exploratory business development projects found that organizational learning was more effective when the business developments operated autonomously with respect to goals. management and organizations. more quality research is clearly needed to assess the links between various types of teams (e.e. (2001) provide details of a rigorous qualitative ﬁeld study of 16 hospitals implementing new cardiac surgery to assess team learning. However. higher levels of autonomy (i. These ﬁndings in themselves identify the rather controversial views on the relationship. 2002. 1997). Research questions The primary question that needs to be addressed here is: “what is the relationship between self-managed work teams and organizational learning?” The relationship between SMWTs and performance has been identiﬁed as rather “conclusive” (Castka et al. which has been synonymous with the SMWT (Manz and Sims. the learning organization has only established tentative links with ﬁnancial performance (Ellinger et al. SMWT) within exploratory business developments were found as being linked to improved organizational effectiveness. has been linked to the learning organization concept (Watkins and Marsick. 2002) especially in areas other than manufacturing (Spreitzer et al. p. 1996. Edmondson et al. The fact that there is a lack of high quality empirical studies (Glassop. 2002). 1998) and general performance (Bontis et al. better results were associated with decreased autonomy. The evidence linking SMWTs to the learning organization concept tend to suggest that there is a relationship. 123) and “inconclusive” (Cappelli and Neumark. 1993). Thus. The limited generalisability of these results suggests the need to answer the following question: “what is the relationship between organizational learning and performance?”
... 2001. McGrath (2001) also found that as the degree of exploration decreased. In her study. but that it is contingent upon numerous characteristics (Edmondson. some studies have assessed the relationship between team empowerment. because teams have been considered to be proactive when they seek continuous improvement. 2002) and job satisfaction (Goh and Richards. Results from the study suggest that team empowerment and managing a learning process matter greatly for an organization’s ability to learn in response to innovation. the relationship between the learning organization and performance has been subject to very little research. Although the organizational learning literature has identiﬁed links to innovation (Hargadon. 1999). another question to be addressed here is: “what is the relationship between self-managed work teams and performance?” Finally. 2001). 738). 2001. Edmondson et al. and seek innovative solutions to work problems. p. 1999) identiﬁes the need for more research into this relationship. One of these items..g. Spreitzer’s (1995) study has assessed the links between team empowerment and organizational learning among mid-level employees in large corporations. 1993. McGrath.. In an interesting example. revise work processes. Spreitzer (1995) argues that empowerment leads to a proactive orientation towards jobs. Kim (1998) has also noted that proactive change is associated with increased levels of innovation.
Questions pertaining to section two.. The questionnaire consisted of ﬁve distinct sections relating to: (1) demographics (six questions). Both public and private companies were included in the research to answer calls by SMWT scholars (Spreitzer et al. p. In section four there were four measures of performance: (1) knowledge performance. The predominantly quantitative method took the form of a questionnaire. 115).. (1999) belief that SMWT effectiveness can be measured in terms of ﬁnancial performance. The data was analyzed with version 11 of the SPSS for Windows program. HRMs were targeted given their noted role as a “coach/counselor/advisor” in SMWTs (Brewster et al. and their role as a “facilitator” in the learning organization (Watkins and Marsick. p. 9). p. who cite numerous traditional managerial functions that are now “frequently associated with SMWTs”. 2000. The degree of autonomy that work teams possessed in organizations was measured in Section three over 16 task related decisions adapted from Metlay and Kaplan (1992. (3) ﬁnancial performance. 1999) and learning organization scholars (Ellinger et al.3
Research methodology Given that the link between self-managed work teams and organizational learning has not been previously assessed empirically in the literature. were adapted from the “DLOQ: dimensions of the learning organization questionnaire” (Watkins et al. (3) self-managed work teams (sixteen questions). (2) organizational learning (sixteen questions). and (5) personal comments (ﬁve open-ended questions). This also was followed by open-ended questions that were used to validate the quantitative ﬁndings and provide additional insights into questionnaire responses.. 2001). 186). (4) performance (seven questions).TLO 11. The questionnaire used in this study was designed for human resource managers (HRMs) across multiple Australian industries. The target population for this study included 200 randomly selected public and private organizations across multiple Australian industries found in the Business Review Weekly top 1. turnover and customer satisfaction. and Watkins and Marsick’s (1999) suggestion that learning organization performance can be measured by knowledge performance and ﬁnancial performance. 1992. The rationale for choosing these measures of performance was based on Spreitzer’s et al. 1997).000 list (BRW. SMWTs were measured by the amount of autonomy that work teams possess over tasks traditionally maintained by managers (Rogers et al. 2002) for more inclusive sampling strategies when analyzing performance. Numerous
. where the variables were measured along a seven point Likert scale.. the learning organization. Data analysis A total of 62 responses were obtained at a response rate of 31 percent for this research. (2) customer satisfaction. 1995).. an exploratory research design was adopted. and (4) turnover.
The high team control over OH&S issues is congruent with Blewett
Mean score (M) 2.techniques.17
Table I. Mean and overall scores for team control over work related decisions
.28 1. which is particularly encouraging given the focus of the study on HR activities.29 3. indicated that 64 percent of those who returned surveys had completed a Bachelor degree or higher level of education.87 3. Decisions pertaining to equipment maintenance checks (M ¼ 4.96 4. It can be seen that the degree of team control over work-related tasks is low to moderate.57 2.91 3. including univariate.22 1.03 3.30 1. The ﬁnal demographic variable assessed.46 1.23 1.14 1.76 3. Prior to conducting analysis that speciﬁcally addresses the research questions a preliminary overview of the responses was undertaken.70 1. bivariate. Demographics Respondents were found to be rather equal in terms of gender (30 males.00 3. 58 percent of the respondents classiﬁed themselves as HR managers.45) and occupational health and safety issues (OH&S) (M ¼ 4. An overall mean score of the degree of self-management in work teams is also presented.30 1.25 1.00. breaks and vacations Group goals decisions Organizing team meetings Purchasing decisions Management of work budgets
3. Some large differences between the decisions were identiﬁed.45 1.73 1. SD ¼ 1.82 1.80 2. with another 32 percent indicating they were HR assistants/ofﬁcers. the respondent’s length of time with the company was found to be rather low (mean ¼ 4 years). SD ¼ 1. multivariate and reliability analysis were employed in assessing the research questions. Interestingly.25 1.76 1. as well as length of time in the current position (mean ¼ 2 years).53 1.62 2.61 1. which perhaps is not surprising due to the number of HR managers in the sample. the learning organization and performance.30) were both found to hold mean scores over the mean value. highest level of education.83 Standard deviation (SD) 1. which is found to be low to moderate at 3. This univariate analysis was carried out for each of the three major variables being assessed: SMWTs. 90 percent of the respondents were from the HR department.41 1.17.80 3. Thus.11 Overall mean score
Work related decisions Team performance/appraisals Individual performance problems Selection decisions Termination decisions Compensation decisions Occupational health and safety decisions Setting production goals Determining work methods The assignment of daily tasks Equipment maintenance checks Implementing process improvements Scheduling of work.93 4.29. Self-managed work teams Table I shows the mean scores and standard deviations for each of the 16 work-related decisions.54 1. 32 females).
The learning organization Preliminary results were also assessed for the questions relating to the learning organization. The remaining three indicators were identiﬁed as positive. standard deviation and overall mean for each of the performance indicators being assessed. Despite the literature highlighting the strong relationship between teams and learning.13. A scatter plot of these two variables is shown in Figure 1 (note: higher scores on a variable indicate higher levels of that variable in an organization). indicating that learning organization use is rather widespread.93. given that the organizations assessed were among the top 1.
. SD ¼ 0.21. Although further analysis still needs to be done. this study found an insigniﬁcant weak-mild positive relationship between the two variables. the extent to which the learning organization concept is used across the 62 organizations was found to be positive. termination decisions (M ¼ 1. The overall mean was also positive at 4.11) and compensation decisions (M ¼ 1. A brief examination of Table II suggests that the majority of the responses on the learning organization concept were positive. At the other end of the scale. SD ¼ 1.28).97). initial results have highlighted an insigniﬁcant weak positive relationship between performance and self-managed work teams.000 companies in Australia. management of budgets (M ¼ 1. the results indicate that these three tasks are less likely to be managed by work teams. Self-managed work teams and performance Again. SD ¼ 1. Overall.44). A scatter plot of this relationship is shown in Figure 2 (note: higher scores on a variable indicate higher levels of that variable in an organization). despite much of the literature stating a positive relationship between self-managed work teams and performance indicators. SD ¼ 1. The dimension “creating continuous opportunities” displayed the most positive response and the lowest standard deviation (M ¼ 5. Generally.23) were found to reﬂect a low degree of SMWT control. The item “empowering people towards a collective vision” was identiﬁed as the least positive response (M ¼ 4. The low mean for compensation decisions was especially interesting. SD ¼ 1. Table III indicates that employee turnover obtained the lowest score among the performance indicators (M ¼ 3.83. analysis thus far has not conﬁrmed this relationship.68. Performance Consideration was also given to the mean.82.24). This skewness was expected. SD ¼ 188.8.131.52
and Shaw’s (1995) contention that SMWTs can be seen as a mechanism for integrating OH&S into an organization. Analysis speciﬁcally addressing the research questions was then undertaken.TLO 11. given that McGrath’s (2001) study identiﬁed that the most valued compensation programs are designed by team involvement in plan design and implementation. Self-managed work teams and organizational learning The relationship between these two variables was found not to be signiﬁcant. with an overall mean of 4.
ﬁnding that 39 percent of the variance in performance could be explained in terms of organizational learning variables.53
1. Our organization helps employees increase their capacity to listen and inquire into views of others Encourage collaboration and Work is designed to use groups to team learning access different modes of thinking.20
1. A scatter plot is provided (Figure 3) of this relationship (note: higher scores on a variable indicate higher levels of that variable in an organization).52
Organizational learning and performance A signiﬁcant.28
4. The leaders of our organization champion and support learning
5. Groups are expected to learn and work together. Responsibility is distributed closely to decision making to promote accountability Connect the organization to Employees are helped to see the its environment impact of their work on the company. collective vision owning and implementing a collective vision at work.32
1. Our organization is linked to the community. Employees scan the environment to adjust work practices as required Leaders model and support Our organization’s leaders use learning learning strategically to drive business results. positive relationship was found between organizational learning and performance. Collaboration is valued by our organization’s culture and is rewarded Establish systems to capture Technology systems that share and share learning learning have been created and integrated with work.Variables Create continuous opportunities
Work is designed so that employees learn on job. feedback and experimentation.04 Table II.13
1. This result conﬁrms previous literature on the topic. Overall mean scores for the seven dimensions of the learning organization
4. Employees are able to access systems that share learning and these systems are maintained Empower people to a Employees are involved in setting.97
4. Opportunities for ongoing education and growth are provided at work Promote inquiry and Our organizational culture supports dialogue questioning.
Although the previous section has shown a weak relationship exists between self-managed work teams and performance. Self-managed work teams and organizational learning scatter plot
Multivariate analysis of variables Multivariate analysis was considered to assess the relationship between self-managed work teams and the learning organization (independent variables) and performance (dependent variable).12 1.07
Financial performance Table III. it was considered useful to reassess this relationship through multiple regression to identify whether both
.23 4. Our organization’s proﬁts have improved Employee turnover has decreased
4.TLO 11. Overall mean scores for performance indicators Employee turnover
5.91 3. Knowledge is leveraged effectively by my company as a tool for enhancing products and services for customers Employees are committed to satisfying customers and reaching organizational goals.3
Performance indicators Knowledge performance
Items Knowledge initiatives at my company have led to the enhancement of products and services to customers.79
Figure 1. Employees put in a great deal of extra effort to ensure that customer satisfaction is attained The market share of our organization has increased.
001) suggests that this predictor’s value to the model is positive.358 indicates two ﬁndings. 53 of the 62 respondents indicated that learning was an important part of work design at their organization.20. Second. not one respondent stated that learning was not an important part of their work design. 0. 0. strong and highly signiﬁcant. it identiﬁes that the addition of SMWTs into the equation as a predictor of performance “muddies the water”. In terms of learning. p .Performance indicators
Figure 2. p . the qualitative aspects of the study are rather promising. The “R square” value of 0. p .594.001) and that the independent variables have a signiﬁcant effect on the dependent variable. The standardized beta values also provide insight into the relative importance of each independent variable to the overall model. First. weak and not signiﬁcant. Open-ended questions Although quantitative analysis so far has only conﬁrmed a signiﬁcant relationship between organizational learning and performance. Self-managed work teams and performance scatterplot
self-managed work teams and the learning organization have a joint affect on performance. with only eight of the 62 organizations reporting that self-managed work teams role would decrease. The results of the standard multiple regression are shown in Table IV.8 percent of the variability in performance. an open-ended question aimed at assessing this question has revealed that 44 percent of the respondents have found a strong link between teams and learning in their
. 35 of the 62 organizations that responded stated that self-managed work teams’ role is more than likely going to increase in the future. These results indicate that overall the regression model is moderately-strongly signiﬁcant (F ¼ 15. despite quantitative analysis indicating an insigniﬁcant weak-mild relationship between self-managed work teams and organizational learning.076. it shows that the degree of SMWTs and learning organization concept account for 35. Furthermore. The organizational learning beta value (B ¼ 0. 0.05) suggests that this predictor’s value to the model is positive. Finally. On teams. The self-managed work team beta value (B ¼ 0.
550 Sig.076 Sig.TLO 11. the relationship between SMWTs and the learning organization concept is statistically insigniﬁcant.
.299 0.594 df 2 54 56 t 0. 0.322 Standardized beta 0.599 0.597 29. With the scaled questions.725 46.335 0.742 Sum of square 16.000
Figure 3. Dependent variable: performance
organization. Multiple regression results
Notes: Independent variables: self-managed work teams and the learning organization. The learning organization and performance scatter plot
Model summary R R square Adjusted R square Standard Error ANOVA Regression Residual Total Coefﬁcients Variable 1 (self-man. team) Variable 2 (org.179 5.305 Mean square 8.000 F 15.859 0. Conclusions The following conclusions have been drawn from the study: . Subsequent analysis of data. 0.358 0. learning)
0.020 0. especially through the use of follow-up interviews with willing respondents may add further signiﬁcance and value to these preliminary ﬁndings.
.5 percent). should continue to be important work designs in the future. results suggest that the SMWT concept is related to performance outcomes at a speciﬁc rather than general level. Third. however. Most survey respondents agreed that more responsibilities are expected to be given to teams (43. ﬁnancial performance and customer satisfaction was found to be statistically signiﬁcant. With the quantitative data. although the quantitative results identiﬁed that SMWT use is not signiﬁcantly related to learning organization principles at a general level. the qualitative data suggested that there is a positive and signiﬁcant relationship between SMWTs and the learning organization. and to a lesser extent SMWTs. the anecdotal data suggested that the two variables are associated in speciﬁc circumstances. customer satisfaction and turnover) is statistically insigniﬁcant.
Implications for managers This research has raised three main implications for managers.e. knowledge performance.
. If managers are attempting to establish or encourage learning. Second.. suggested a positive and signiﬁcant relationship between SMWTs and performance (i.5 percent) and that learning is an important part of work design (85. Manager support was perceived to be an important indicator of learning organization success. the ﬁndings of this study indicate that it must start at the top in terms of support and resources.
. 2002). SMWTs should only be applied in work contexts that are deemed to be advantageous for their use. because the learning organization concept was identiﬁed as being positively related to performance outcomes. Both the learning organization. This proposition has certainly been recognized in recent times (Glassop. The literature has also considered leadership support to be important to the learning organization (Senge. ﬁnancial performance. First. The majority of survey respondents believed that there is a relationship between SMWTs and the learning organization. the results indicate that it is imperative for managers to strive towards creating and maintaining a learning organization. Respondents believed that SMWT’s relationship to performance indicators is especially dependent on organizational context and that in the right situation this relationship does exist. These systems need to be in place to protect learning from deteriorating throughout the organization and to ensure that higher levels of performance are achieved. The learning organization’s relationship to knowledge performance. Organizations that had a greater level of managerial support in their learning programs were identiﬁed as achieving a higher level of overall performance. 1990). But the relationship between the learning organization and turnover was not statistically signiﬁcant. If SMWTs are used it is essential to ensure that mechanisms are in place to spread the team-based learning generated from SMWTs throughout the organization. the relationship between SMWTs and performance (i.
With the open-ended questions. The qualitative data. Managers must be select and wise in their decision to increase the amount of responsibility delegated to teams. customer satisfaction and turnover). knowledge performance.e. and that this relationship is dependent on numerous variables.
some caution must be attributed to assessing links with performance in this study. p.e. Although past research has identiﬁed that perceived measures of performance have a signiﬁcant correlation with objective measures of ﬁnancial performance (Bontis et al. perceptions of performance were solicited only from middle to upper managers.
. because it reduces the power of the study. it was by no means excellent.TLO 11. Although the responses rate of this study was deemed to be a weakness. A larger response rate would have led to more accurate results across industry. Therefore. Although the response rate was considered to be adequate. Response rate With a response rate of 31 percent it could be argued that the research ﬁndings are not representative of the wider study “population” and that response bias may have inﬂuenced responses. this study’s ﬁndings on learning only relate to large ﬁrms. Neuman (1997. Accordingly. the results of this study are limited purely to the Australian context. The low power of the study may have led to a type two error. This may be a limitation given that perspectives of performance may vary at different levels of the organization.. Although it would have been interesting to track the relationship between the variables over time. which are different in nature to smaller companies.000 companies list (BRW. (1998) have identiﬁed that the learning organization concept may vary between populations. Subjective measures of performance A major constraint imposed on the study was that performance was measured based on respondent’s perceptions. which Tharenou (2002) explains is the notion that a signiﬁcant relationship may exist between variables that was not identiﬁed in the study. Cross-sectional study This study’s ﬁndings are limited because a cross-sectional study was employed that explored managerial perceptions at one particular point in time. Yang et al. The companies on this list are all large corporations. this was not possible given the cost and time constraints imposed on the study. 2001). 2002). the conclusions are restricted by numerous limitations. 247) has stated that “responses rates between 10 to 50 percent are common”. Small sample size The small sample size used in this research (n ¼ 62) can be seen to be a weakness of the study. Recent empirical research by Anderson and Boocock (2002) found that learning differs between small and large ﬁrms. Furthermore.3
Limitations of the research Despite attempts by the researcher to use multiple data collection techniques (i. The sample is also predominantly composed of Australian companies. Generalizability The sample chosen for this study was randomly selected from the Business Review Weekly’s top 1. method triangulation).
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