Organizational Learning as an Antecedent of Family Business Longevity

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Abstract

Following studies on organizational learning, this conceptual article postulates that organizational learning takes place at two levels: lower-level learning (single loop) and higher-level learning (double loop) and these are likely to influence the longevity of family businesses that have long been associated with early demise. Lower-level learning occurs when errors or problems are detected and corrected without changing organization norms or systems while higher-level learning occurs when organizational members challenge procedures and policies in use which will result in developing new ways of doing things. These two levels of learning fundamentally enable organizations to continuously appreciate the prevailing circumstances, compare the past, and adjust their policies, strategies, and approaches to remain relevant in an ever-changing business environment. The relationship between organizational learning and family business longevity is mediated by innovation capabilities. The conceptual model depicting how organizational learning, innovation capabilities, and family business longevity interact is provided. The underlying assumption is that organizational learning tends to influence the development of innovation capabilities within family business firms which ultimately enhances their ability to live longer.