Problems of Learning Organisations Producing Complex Product Systems

Tim Brady, Gillian Shapiro

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


Much of the literature and advice on organisational learning assumes a single organisation which carries out repeated processes as typically found in mass production industries. This chapter is concerned specifically with firms who are involved in the design and development of Complex Products Systems (CoPS) which differ from mass-produced goods in a number of ways, which mean that assumptions based on mass-produced goods may be invalid when applied to CoPS. Furthermore, much of the knowledge needed to produce CoPS is embedded in individuals and teams (Nightingale, 1997a, 1997b; Vincenti, 1990), whereas in mass production the learning becomes embodied in the machines and systems producing the goods. The chapter begins with a brief section describing the characteristics of CoPS and the key differences to mass-produced goods and how this creates specific difficulties for learning in CoPS. The next two sections provide an examination of the literature on organisational learning and knowledge creation as far as it is relevant to the specific problems of CoPS firms related to interproject learning. The final section discusses the implications for learning in CoPS.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSystems and Policies for the Global Learning Economy
EditorsDavid V. Gibson, Chandler Stolp, Pedro Conceicao, Manuel V. Heitor
Place of PublicationLondon, UK
PublisherPraeger Publishers
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)1567204767
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2003

Publication series

NameInternational Series on Technology Policy and Innovation

Bibliographical note

Contains extended select papers from the 3rd International Conference on Technology Policy and Innovation


  • Complex Products Systems (CoPS)
  • Organisational learning
  • Knowledge


Dive into the research topics of 'Problems of Learning Organisations Producing Complex Product Systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this