Collaborative Strategic Improvement through Network Action Learning

Collaborative Strategic Improvement through Network Action Learning

The Path to Sustainability

Paul Coughlan and David Coghlan

Improvement is fundamental to the competitiveness of networks and requires the participating firms to collaborate in identifying and introducing changes. This book presents collaborative strategic improvement as a cycle of activities in which firms in a network can engage together. Drawing on actual cases, authors link this cycle with disciplined action learning as a means of building upon experience generated through collaborative action. They describe how a network can learn from experience and deploy that learning in the marketplace.

Chapter 2: Collaborative Strategic Improvement

Paul Coughlan and David Coghlan

Subjects: business and management, knowledge management, operations management, organisation studies, research methods in business and management, innovation and technology, knowledge management, research methods, research methods in business and management

Extract

INTRODUCTION In this chapter, we introduce the improvement imperative from an operations management perspective. This introduction sets up some of the underlying background so that the depth of the perspective is clear. We develop the contention that operations is a contributor to organizational performance and that improvement has a particular meaning. Then, we extend the process of strategic improvement to the inter-organizational and network settings and we introduce the concept of collaborative strategic improvement. We conclude the chapter with a clear outline of the need to introduce organizational learning and action learning into the frame in order to achieve sustainability of learning and improvement. STRATEGIC OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT: GETTING MORE FROM LESS TODAY AND TOMORROW The working of an operation has always been an enigma. On the one hand, the operation is a visible part of the organization where people or equipment can be seen to be working away and where something happens. On the other hand, the operation will neither come right nor stay right of its own accord. Answers to the following questions are not obvious: ● ● ● ● What makes it work as it does? Could it work better in its current form? What different forms could it take and still get the same result? What market, internal or environmental change would cause most disruption to the working of the operation, and with what knock-on effects? Behind such questions (and the associated learning potential) is an established body of programmed knowledge, the discipline of operations management. Teaching in the London Business...

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