Collaborative Strategic Improvement through Network Action Learning
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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.
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Chapter 9: Realizing Sustainable Strategic Improvement

Paul Coughlan and David Coghlan

Extract

9. Realizing sustainable strategic improvement In today’s world, collaboration between countries and firms forms a basis for sustainable growth and development. The economic, social and political systems in their respective ways facilitate the shift from competing to collaborating entities. Firms, as members of supply chains or networks, have the opportunity to collaborate with others in the system. Some of these collaborators may be closer to end users, others closer to primary materials producers. Each holds the potential to generate value on an individual, bilateral or even multilateral basis. Yet, in the current economic context, engaging collaboratively with others in their supply network, however promising, faces obstacles, not least in the capacity to learn from collective and collaborative experience. At the same time there has been a growing awareness of the centrality of learning in this global world where much change is discontinuous. For those who have the patience or capacity to learn, there is opportunity in all transactions characteristic of routine business. To create the conditions for such learning and to capture the insights for later application is difficult when dealing within a single firm. However difficult, though, the challenge increases when seeking learning opportunities in a disciplined way in a network context. Yet, that is what firms must do if they are to collaborate in order to locate competitiveness. This book is set in the context of the EME, a strategic network formed to compete and to grow sustainably. In Chapter 2, we framed the challenge in realizing this...

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