The Dimensions of Experiential Learning in the Management of Activity Load

Organization Science, Forthcoming

40 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2014

See all articles by Francesco Castellaneta

Francesco Castellaneta

SKEMA Business School, Université Côte d'Azur (GREDEG)

Maurizio Zollo

Bocconi University - Department of Management and Technology

Date Written: February 18, 2014

Abstract

Drawing on the attention-based view of the firm and the experiential learning literature, this paper develops and tests a theory on how firms learn to cope with the strains of activity load. We first empirically test the impact of activity load on the performance of a focal activity. We then study how this relationship is moderated by four dimensions of experiential learning: stock, homogeneity, pacing, and past success. We test our hypotheses on a proprietary database of 6,913 investments by 248 private equity firms in 77 countries between 1973 and 2008. We find that heavier activity loads exact a smaller toll on performance when firms have larger and more homogenous stocks of prior experience. However, when firms' prior experience is more rapidly paced or successful, the toll of heavier activity loads on performance grows. Taken together, these four dimensions of experiential learning provide an initial theoretical basis for the development of a capability that we term “attention modulation capability.”

Suggested Citation

Castellaneta, Francesco and Zollo, Maurizio, The Dimensions of Experiential Learning in the Management of Activity Load (February 18, 2014). Organization Science, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2398104

Francesco Castellaneta (Contact Author)

SKEMA Business School, Université Côte d'Azur (GREDEG) ( email )

France

Maurizio Zollo

Bocconi University - Department of Management and Technology ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, MI 20136
Italy

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