Special Issue "New Perspectives on Organizational Change: The Reality of Organizational Learning"

A special issue of Administrative Sciences (ISSN 2076-3387).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 September 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Beck

Università della Svizzera italiana, 6900 Lugano, Switzerland
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Behavioral Theory of the Firm; Organizational Change; Organizational Learning; New Institutionalism

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Ever since the seminal work of Richard Cyert and James March (1963) organizational learning and change has been one of the most important topics in organizational theory. Research on this topic is mainly conducted with archival data (e.g. Bromiley 1991) and simulation models (e.g. March 1991), resulting in important and highly valuable results, however oftentimes using somewhat abstract (empirical) constructs. We therefore welcome original research that extends previous approaches by shedding more light on the reality of organizational learning and change within organizations. Here are some examples of possible research questions that fit into the targeted area of research.

  • Aspiration levels in learning models are usually constructed from previous performance of the focal organization or the performance of competing organizations (e.g. Greve 2003). Are the actual aspirations that managers take into consideration different from these abstract aspiration levels? How do managers react when the organization/department/team for which they are responsible do not meet the actual aspirations? What happens if they exceed them?
  • Organizations learn by integrating experiences, i.e. new knowledge, into the rule body (March, Schulz, and Zhou 2000). What are the exact processes or procedures that organizations apply in order to change the rule body or organizational routines? How do organizations adapt and improve the meta-routines that determine rule-change and other change processes? How sophisticated are these meta-routines in different types of organizations?
  • Experiences and knowledge are not only stored in the rule system of an organization, but also in the stories and narratives conveyed to organizational members (Foster, Coraiola, Suddaby, Kroezen, & Chandler 2016). How can stories and narratives be used to initiate change in the organization rather than to preserve the status quo? What are the differences in knowledge that are captured through stories and knowledge that are integrated in the rule system?

We appreciate quantitative and qualitative research on these and similar topics that help to understand how organizations and their members actually deal with processes of learning and change.


Bromiley, P. (1991). Testing a causal model of corporate risk taking and performance. Academy of Management journal, 34(1), 37-59.

Cyert, R. M., & March, J. G. (1963). A behavioral theory of the firm. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 2, 169-187.

Foster, W. M., Coraiola, D. M., Suddaby, R., Kroezen, J., & Chandler, D. (2017). The strategic use of historical narratives: a theoretical framework. Business History, 59(8), 1176-1200.

Greve, H. R. (2003). Organizational learning from performance feedback: A behavioral perspective on innovation and change. Cambridge University Press.

March, J. G. (1991). Exploration and exploitation in organizational learning. Organization science, 2(1), 71-87.

March, J. G., Schulz, M., & Zhou, X. (2000). The dynamics of rules: Change in written organizational codes. Stanford University Press.

Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Beck
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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  • Organizational Change
  • Organizational Learning
  • Knowledge Transfer
  • Rules
  • Routines
  • Internal Procedures

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
Adm. Sci. EISSN 2076-3387 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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