Is there a global model of learning organizations? An empirical, cross-nation study

Helen Shipton, Qin Zhou, Erik Mooi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper develops and tests a learning organization model derived from HRM and dynamic capability literatures in order to ascertain the model's applicability across divergent global contexts. We define a learning organization as one capable of achieving on-going strategic renewal, arguing based on dynamic capability theory that the model has three necessary antecedents: HRM focus, developmental orientation and customer-facing remit. Drawing on a sample comprising nearly 6000 organizations across 15 countries, we show that learning organizations exhibit higher performance than their less learning-inclined counterparts. We also demonstrate that innovation fully mediates the relationship between our conceptualization of the learning organization and organizational performance in 11 of the 15 countries we examined. It is the first time in our knowledge that these questions have been tested in a major, cross-global study, and our work contributes to both HRM and dynamic capability literatures, especially where the focus is the applicability of best practice parameters across national boundaries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2278-2298
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event11th International HRM Conference - Birmingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 9 Jun 201012 Jun 2010


  • dynamic capabilities
  • HRM
  • learning organization
  • innovation


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