Research Pass HR & training

Learning Organization, Organizational Learning and Innovation: New and Critical Perspectives

Call for papers for: The Learning Organization

Learning Organization, Organizational Learning and Innovation: New and Critical Perspectives

Guest Editors: 
Dr Pavel Bogolyubov, Lancaster University Management School, UK; [email protected]
Dr Ralph T. Soule, The George Washington University, USA; [email protected]
Prof.  Joaquín Alegre, University of Valencia, Spain; [email protected]

This is a call for papers for an upcoming special issue of The Learning Organization (TLO). The special issue will be devoted to explorations of links between innovation and Learning Organizations and Organizational Learning (LO/OL). The editors are particularly seeking contributions devoted to under-explored topics in innovation and organizational learning or offer fresh philosophical/methodological positions. The deadline for submission is 15th of January 2021.

The link between LO/OL and Innovation is well-established in the literature; a general search on Web of Science for “Learning organization” or “Organizational Learning” and “Innovation” returns 1800 results, some of them highly cited (e.g., Bates and Khasawneh, 2005; Alegre and Chiva, 2008; Keskin, 2006 etc.); since 2019 alone there were over about 150 various publications matching the keywords. 

Many positive links between LO/OL and innovation have been identified (Calantone, Cavusgil et al., 2002; Chen, Lin et al., 2009). Recent scholarship has been focussing on important, but less well-explored issues such as the role of leadership (Gil, Rodrigo-Moya et al., 2018; Asif, 2019), internationalisation (Thakur‐Wernz and Samant, 2019; von Delft, Kortmann et al., 2019) and the green agenda (Zhang and Zhu, 2019). These papers demonstrate that the connections between innovation and LO/OL are still vibrant areas for research.

While the field’s maturity is reflected in the strength of the accumulated empirical evidence, and expanding range of topics being explored, there are opportunities to take the scholarship in new directions, which is the aim of the special issue. Some perspectives and viewpoints have become dominant, such as the innovation – creativity – knowledge creation logic (e.g., Liao, Fei et al., 2008). This research stream has exclusively modeled the OL/LO-innovation link through the Socialization-Externalization-Combination-Internalization (SECI) spiral (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995). Is it time to update the model in light of the hyper-connectivity exhibited by many learning organizations? Another popular perspective is the ‘cultural’ one (Jiménez-Jiménez and Sanz-Valle, 2011), either portraying organizational (learning) culture as a key moderating factor between LO/OL and Innovation (Ghasemzadeh, Nazari et al., 2019), or sometimes simply equating LO with ‘organizations with learning culture’ (Gil, Rodrigo-Moya et al., 2018). What are the deeper aspects of culture that play a role in OL and does culture have a darker side for organizations that don’t perform as well as their peers in the market?

These observations about two of the established perspectives do not invalidate them and are not meant to suggest they lack value to the field. The question remains, however, whether newer perspectives can enrich the understanding of LO/OL-Innovation links. Is there possibly value in more critical examinations of LO/OL-Innovation relationships? Is it always positive? Do we understand the mechanism of it well enough? What might be missing? Are there any areas that have been under-explored so far, such as the role of gender (e.g., Martin, Lord et al., 2018) or power (e.g.,Hao and Feng, 2018)? Could some benefits be reaped from putting more emphasis on the currently under-represented research paradigms, e.g., post-modernist or feminist studies? 

In this special issue we are proposing to do just that: to develop our understanding of the link between LO/OL and Innovation by addressing it from new and/or critical perspectives. We invite research contributions from any viewpoints that represent a departure from the mainstream paradigm!

Submission Information
The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2021. All submissions should follow the TLO author guidelines that can be found here. Articles should be between 4000 and 7000 words in length, including all text, references and appendices. Please allow 280 words for each figure or table. Submissions to be made through the ScholarOne manuscript submission portal 


Alegre, J. and Chiva, R. (2008), "Assessing the impact of organizational learning capability on product innovation performance: An empirical test", Technovation, Vol. 28 No. 6, pp. 315-326.
Asif, M. (2019), "Exploring the role of exploration/exploitation and strategic leadership in organizational learning", International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 406-423.
Bates, R. and Khasawneh, S. (2005), "Organizational learning culture, learning transfer climate and perceived innovation in Jordanian organizations", International journal of training and development, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 96-109.
Calantone, R.J., Cavusgil, S.T. and Zhao, Y. (2002), "Learning orientation, firm innovation capability, and firm performance", Industrial marketing management, Vol. 31 No. 6, pp. 515-524.
Chen, Y.-S., Lin, M.-J.J. and Chang, C.-H. (2009), "The positive effects of relationship learning and absorptive capacity on innovation performance and competitive advantage in industrial markets", Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 38 No. 2, pp. 152-158.
Ghasemzadeh, P., Nazari, J.A., Farzaneh, M. and Mehralian, G. (2019), "Moderating role of innovation culture in the relationship between organizational learning and innovation performance", The Learning Organization, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 289-303.
Gil, A.J., Rodrigo-Moya, B. and Morcillo-Bellido, J. (2018), "The effect of leadership in the development of innovation capacity: A learning organization perspective", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 39 No. 6, pp. 694-711.
Hao, B. and Feng, Y. (2018), "Leveraging learning forces in asymmetric alliances: small firms’ perceived power imbalance in driving exploration and exploitation", Technovation, Vol. 78 No. pp. 27-39.
Jiménez-Jiménez, D. and Sanz-Valle, R. (2011), "Innovation, organizational learning, and performance", Journal of business research, Vol. 64 No. 4, pp. 408-417.
Keskin, H. (2006), "Market orientation, learning orientation, and innovation capabilities in SMEs: An extended model", European Journal of innovation management, Vol. 9 No. 4, pp. 396-417.
Liao, S.-h., Fei, W.-C. and Liu, C.-T. (2008), "Relationships between knowledge inertia, organizational learning and organization innovation", Technovation, Vol. 28 No. 4, pp. 183-195.
Martin, L.M., Lord, G. and Warren-Smith, I. (2018), "Unseen and unheard? Women managers and organizational learning", The Learning Organization, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 40-50.
Nonaka, I. and Takeuchi, H. (1995), The Knowledge-Creating Company: How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.
Thakur‐Wernz, P. and Samant, S. (2019), "Relationship between international experience and innovation performance: The importance of organizational learning for EMNEs", Global Strategy Journal, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 378-404.
von Delft, S., Kortmann, S., Gelhard, C. and Pisani, N. (2019), "Leveraging global sources of knowledge for business model innovation", Long range planning, Vol. 52 No. 5, 101848.
Zhang, F. and Zhu, L. (2019), "Enhancing corporate sustainable development: Stakeholder pressures, organizational learning, and green innovation", Business Strategy and the Environment, Vol. 28 No. 6, pp. 1012-1026.