Exploring the modes of organizational learning: features from the Open Factory event

  • Paola Castellani
  • Elena Giaretta
  • Federico Brunetti
  • Angelo Bonfanti
Keywords: informational learning; interactive learning; entrepreneurship; mentorship; network


Purpose of the paper: This paper aims to investigate the modes of organizational learning in some Italian small-medium firms that have participated in Open Factory (OF), the biggest open-doors event of industrial manufacturing culture in Italy.

Methodology: The present research is based on in-depth interviews with seven firms that participated in the OF event during the 2016 and 2017 editions.

Findings: This study highlights that firms, participating in the OF, are led to reflect deeply on their identity, characteristics, strengths and weaknesses. This in-depth reflection leads firms to improve their informational and interactive modes of organizational learning and, subsequently, portray themselves better to stakeholders.

Research limits: The limitations of this research come from the number of firms taking part in this study, choosing a single person in every firm, and carrying out the interviews after the OF event ended.

Practical implications: This study suggests to firms that want to present and portray themselves better to stakeholders to learn how to reflect on their identity and characteristics in terms of, for example, employees’ skills, production technologies and products. In addition, this paper proposes a number of advantages in terms of OL provided to firms by their participation in the OF event.

Originality of the paper: In management studies the modes of organizational learning in firms remain one of the less explored topics in practical terms. This paper provides practical evidence by proposing the Italian case of Open Factory as analysis context.


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