Learning in manufacturing organizations: what factors predict effectiveness?

Helen Shipton, Jeremy Dawson, Michael West, Malcom Patterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper argues that it is possible to identify factors which pre-dispose organizations to adopt effective learning strategies and processes. It is hypothesized that effective OL is associated with: profitability, environmental uncertainty, structure, approach to HRM and quality orientation. The study focuses on forty-four manufacturing organizations, and draws on longitudinal data gathered through interviews. The findings suggest that two of these variables - approach to HRM and quality orientation - are particularly strongly correlated with measures of OL. It is concluded that effective learning mechanisms, with the potential to improve the quality of OL processes, are more likely to be established in businesses where HRM and quality initiatives are well established.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-72
Number of pages18
JournalHuman Resource Development International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • organizational learning
  • quality
  • tqm
  • hrm
  • structure and profitability


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