Title: The empirical relationship among Organisational Learning, Continuous Improvement and Performance Improvement

Authors: Hongyi Sun, Kario Ho, Wenbin Ni

Addresses: Department of Manufacturing Engineering and Engineering Management, City University of Hong Kong, 83 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China. ' Department of Manufacturing Engineering and Engineering Management, City University of Hong Kong, 83 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China. ' School of Business Administration, Zhejiang University of Finance and Economics, Hang Zhou, China

Abstract: There are still many questions remain unanswered about the relationship between Organisational Learning (OL) and Continuous Improvement (CI). For example, how do OL and CI contribute to business performance? Are OL and CI equal? Do OL and CI support each other? Should OL and CI be implemented separately or together? If together, how to integrate OL and CI? This paper records the research on the empirical relationship among CI, OL and Performance Improvement (PI). The research is based on the survey data from about 500 manufacturing companies from seven European countries and Australia. Data analysis is based on Structural Equation Modelling (SEM). It is found out that OL and CI do support or enhance each other. However, only CI directly contributes to PI. The research does not find direct relationship between OL and PI. The results suggest that OL should not be treated as the end, but a means to enhance CI. The research triggers the discussions on what are the real differences and commonalities between OL and CI and how to integrate OL and CI in order to achieve benefits from both. The discussions proposed the concept and Learning for Organisation. The main managerial and research implication is: OL should not be implemented alone! OL should be implemented or studied in a functional context such as CI, Six Sigma, new product develop, innovation and market orientation.

Keywords: continuous improvement; kaizen; learning for organisations; LfO; organisational learning; performance improvement; manufacturing; Europe; Australia; structural equation modelling; SEM; six sigma; new product development; NPD; innovation; market orientation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJLC.2008.018871

International Journal of Learning and Change, 2008 Vol.3 No.1, pp.110 - 124

Published online: 20 Jun 2008 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article