Abstract

New technology-based ventures face enormous learning challenges. Paradoxically, business folklore often cites adaptability and change as key to survival and performance; yet learning, defined as changes in the core elements of the firm, is not necessarily advantageous for the learning organization. This paper aims at adding to our knowledge by exploring under which conditions technology-based ventures engage in market learning and when this learning can be considered advantageous for learning organizations. Based on the organizational learning literature, we argue that these learning behaviors can be better understood by considering their learning and unlearning content. In the context of market learning, it is possible to make a distinction between learning through expansion, modification and contraction. We develop testable hypotheses regarding the antecedents and consequences of market learning.

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