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Behind the learning curve: an investigation of managing learning activities for quality and productivity improvement

Author: Lapré, Michael A. INSEAD Area: Technology and Operations ManagementPublisher: Fontainebleau : INSEAD, 1997.Language: EnglishDescription: Various pagings : Graphs ; 31 cm.Type of document: INSEAD ThesisThesis Note: For the degree of Ph.D. in management, INSEAD, June 1997Bibliography/Index: Includes bibliographical referencesAbstract: The learning curve phenomenon has frequently been observed: unit cost decreases when cumulative production volume increases. Yet some factories show steeper learning curves than others. We study: 1- 62 quality improvement projects undertaken in one factory over a decade. We identify dimensions of the learning process. Conceptual learning (creating know-why) and operational learning (creating know-how) play an important role in changing factory personnel's attention outside the limits of a particular project. 2- how the knowledge accumulated in the quality improvement projects affected the factory's waste rate over time. Projects that acquired both know-why and know-how accelerated waste reduction while other projects either impeded or did not affect waste reduction. We identify an organizational structure that seems capable of consistently producing the mix of know-why and know-how. 3- a network of factories run as learning laboratories. Productive improvement hinges on stability in process conditions
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For the degree of Ph.D. in management, INSEAD, June 1997

Includes bibliographical references

The learning curve phenomenon has frequently been observed: unit cost decreases when cumulative production volume increases. Yet some factories show steeper learning curves than others. We study: 1- 62 quality improvement projects undertaken in one factory over a decade. We identify dimensions of the learning process. Conceptual learning (creating know-why) and operational learning (creating know-how) play an important role in changing factory personnel's attention outside the limits of a particular project. 2- how the knowledge accumulated in the quality improvement projects affected the factory's waste rate over time. Projects that acquired both know-why and know-how accelerated waste reduction while other projects either impeded or did not affect waste reduction. We identify an organizational structure that seems capable of consistently producing the mix of know-why and know-how. 3- a network of factories run as learning laboratories. Productive improvement hinges on stability in process conditions

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