Diversifying into technical clothing manufacture as entrepreneurial learning: a situated learning theory perspective

Nick Theodorakopoulos*, Carmel McGowan, David Bennett, Nada Kakabadse, Catarina Figueira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate analytically how entrepreneurial action as learning relating to diversifying into technical clothing - i.e. a high-value manufacturing sector - can take place. This is particularly relevant to recent discussion and debate in academic and policy-making circles concerning the survival of the clothing manufacture industry in developed industrialised countries. Design/methodology/approach - Using situated learning theory (SLT) as the major analytical lens, this case study examines an episode of entrepreneurial action relating to diversification into a high-value manufacturing sector. It is considered on instrumentality grounds, revealing wider tendencies in the management of knowledge and capabilities requisite for effective entrepreneurial action of this kind. Findings - Boundary events, brokers, boundary objects, membership structures and inclusive participation that addresses power asymmetries are found to be crucial organisational design elements, enabling the development of inter- and intracommunal capacities. These together constitute a dynamic learning capability, which underpins entrepreneurial action, such as diversification into high-value manufacturing sectors. Originality/value - Through a refinement of SLT in the context of entrepreneurial action, the paper contributes to an advancement of a substantive theory of managing technological knowledge and capabilities for effective diversification into high-value manufacturing sectors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17112715
Pages (from-to)676-693
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Manufacturing Technology Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2014

Bibliographical note

This article is © Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear herehttp://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/full/10.1108/JMTM-09-2013-0122. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


  • communities of practice
  • diversification capabilities
  • entrepeneurial action
  • entrepreneurial learning
  • high-value manufacturing
  • technological knowledge management


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