Organisational Transformation in the Russian Oil Industry

Organisational Transformation in the Russian Oil Industry

New Horizons in International Business series

Sarah Dixon

Four longitudinal case studies of Russian oil companies are drawn upon to explain the process of organisational transformation. The book highlights how and why this process differs between companies within the same industry, explores the complexity of the change process and discusses the importance of the top management team. The links between organisational learning, dynamic capabilities and the implementation of change are analysed. An interesting insight into the constraints and enablers of organisational change is also provided. The framework developed from this study can be successfully applied to other organisations wishing to bring about organisational change.

Chapter 8: Organisational Learning and the Development of Organisational Capabilities

Sarah Dixon

Subjects: business and management, international business, strategic management


This chapter builds on the discussions in Chapters 3 and 7 using a crosscase analysis to explain how the theoretical concepts advanced in the organisational learning literature help explain enterprise transformation in transition economies. On the basis of iteration between the literature and the grounded case analysis I propose a theoretical framework for organisational learning in organisations facing major external change. How do organisations faced with radical external change learn how to survive and prosper under a new set of circumstances? A call to link the study of organisational change with learning theory (Hendry, 1996) has been answered by studies utilising organisational learning perspectives to explore this question in both joint ventures (for instance, Lyles and Salk, 1996) and domestically-owned firms (Newman, 2000; Uhlenbruck et al., 2003). Suggested causes of lack of learning include weak ‘absorptive capacity’ (Lyles and Salk, 1996), lack of managerial knowledge (Child and Czegledy, 1996), organisational cultures that inhibit knowledge sharing (Michailova and Husted, 2003) and cognitive barriers to recognising and implementing new organisational routines (Newman, 2000). However, these studies still do not provide a detailed understanding of the processes by which organisational learning leads to the development of organisational capabilities. This chapter investigates these issues in the Russian oil industry exploring the variations between the companies and their causes. On this basis, I propose a theoretical framework explaining a two-stage process of organisational transformation, the first stage being the development of operational capabilities via exploitation learning and the second stage being the development of strategic...

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