Learning through Strategic Alliances

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Organizations are always in the pursuit of gaining an advantage by amongst its competitors through innovativeness and accumulation of necessary information. Hence, organizations push for the enhancement and adaptation of tradition learning process through knowledge transfer and acquisition. Nevertheless, in the study initiated by Bo Bernhard Nielsen and Sabina Nielsen in 2009 revealed that there is a new approach to gaining understanding about other organizations particularly those whom one tries to build close association. According to the authors, trust and tacitness plays a crucial role in developing strategic alliance CITATION Nie09 \l 1033 (Nielsen & Nielsen, 2009). Knowledge tacitness, as explained by the authors facilitated for knowledge transfer and learning. The study was trying to imply that knowledge can be gained in more ways than one. While most assume that easiest way to learn is to have things revealed to you for the purpose of easier and more accurate understanding, this study showed the importance of listening and observation. Tacit knowledge according to the author is significant especially because this are unconscious information that are learned based on watching and observing the people who at work. In an article that was written in 2013, the author implied that tacit knowledge can easily be transferred through trust, constant interaction and extensive personal contact CITATION Kim13 \l 1033 (Kimble, 2013). It is almost similar to the conditioning theory that has been proposed by Pavlov and Skinner. Similar to these theories, tacit knowledge also implies that people effectively learn by associating themselves with people they have high regards for. As a result, these individuals subconsciously adapt their specific pattern of behavior and learn explicitly just by mere association.

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Organizations are always finding ways on how they can improve their performance and expand their business. This is the reason majority of companies invest so much in Research & Development in the hope of finding the right strategy to meet its financial objectives for growth and success. Among the recommended strategies in strategic management, analysis involves offshoring and outsourcing. Offshoring is deciding to bring business operations to a different country from having to operate in its home country for some time (Carmel & Tjia, 2006). Perfect examples of this would include HP, IBM and Microsoft bringing their business operations to India. Offshoring is supposed to save organizations an enormous amount of money especially in terms of labor cost and taxation. Nevertheless, while there are reported benefits for these two practices, majority of businesses fail despite having a fool-proof plan.

In a study conducted in 2012, researcher Neal Goodman made some remarkable realizations. According to Goodman, organizations could prosper in bring their business offshore if they can instill cultural intelligence into its workforce (Goodman, 2012, pp. 48). Goodman define cultural intelligence as cultural awareness of self and others, learning ways to promote effective working relations, styles of doing business around the world, cultural differences in communication styles, and the impact of virtual communications on intercultural understanding (Goodman, 2012, pp.47-48). To put it simply, cultural intelligence would imply that one needs to assimilate and adapt to the culture of the nation where the firm conducts its business. In the process of assimilation and adaptation, one must be able to respect the difference they have with the others and work efficiently and effectively amidst the difference.

While it is not easy to instill cultural intelligence into the workforce because of existing challenges, managers should find clever ways to doing it if they want to succeed without much difficulty in transacting business offshore. Among the challenges typically experienced in an attempt to foster, cultural intelligence is the difference in learning styles and approach in communication. The western culture is more direct to the point and are inquisitive. Given these characteristics other nations who are more indirect and less confrontational might feel offended when questions are raised and pointed out. Hence, virtual communications or face-to-face trainings are preferred that simply relying on voice calls and exchanges of private messages. It would also help if the person giving the training would get to know the learners or offer to present their expectations before the start of the discussion. Another challenge typically experienced in this effort to gain cross-cultural competence is harmonizing the skills of the employees towards the cultural practices and decorum of the culture. The need for a strong management system is especially necessary to address this issue (Goodman, 2012, p. 50).

Overall, the key to successfully infusing cultural intelligence into the workforce is by getting the employees in the same boat as the organization. Employees need to understand that the success of the organization greatly depends on the effort they exert to make things work. Every single employee should be able to look at a bigger perspective than simply concentrating on a very limited view. The involvement of the management, especially the leaders of the organization would also contribute immensely. Leaders and managers should serve as an example to their employees in order to inspire them to follow (Livermore, 2009). Finally, matrices can help check and gauge the methodologies introduced to measure its effectiveness.

In the study of Nielsen and Nielsen the authors also mentioned the importance of trust in facilitating for learning through strategic alliance. According to the authors, organizations will not be too critical at revealing trade secrets and their best practice if the partnerorganization feel that their best interest are kept secured and are protected by the organization they are doing bsuiness with. Similarly, Reber explained that that tacit knowledge and implicit learning are significantly aligned with ones level of the unconscious mind CITATION Reb93 \l 1033 (Reber, 1993). As explained earlier by Nielsen and Nielsen the level of the unconscious significantly has the power to reveal the most sincerest information that are not being restained. This only happens when individuals trust each other enough to held unrestrained by their consious mind. Significantly, Nielsen and Nielsen also supprted what Gladwell asserts that thinking without conscious thinking allows people to act naturally and reveal their most kept and most protected information, including those that actually contributes to their success and their significant development CITATION Gla05 \l 1033 (Gladwell, 2005). Individuals are strangers to themselves. This is the belief that is put forward by author Timothy Wilson in 2002. According to Wilson, people are not generally aware of everything. Some knowledge cannot be expressed verbally or cannot be transcribe. Instead, these knowledge are best expressed through ones unconscious effort CITATION Wil02 \l 1033 (Wilson, 2002).

Overall, the study of authors Bo Bernhard Nielsen and Sabina Nielsen shows significant findings. They had a point in saying that tacit knowledge and trust are effective in learning about an organization. More so, this has also offered a valuable framework that would give organizations the advantage and the additional option to find ways as to how they can learn about their partners.

Organizations necessarily employ management strategies to secure its position and ensure superior performance. While there are several models of strategic enhancement that organization may adapt, very little of which lays a direct connection with the human resource department of the organization. In the article, it mentioned that the majority of the strategies are directed towards the enhancement of business processes but very few specifies the role the employees need to fulfill (Buller & McEvoy, 2012, 44). Needless to say, employees continue to be an organizations most valuable assets (Stewart, 2003). However, despite so very little attention has been directed towards incorporating the human resource in majority of the theories and model of management strategies, similar on how performance evaluation has also been neglected.

Authors Buller and McEvoy utilized Wendy Boswells model of the line of sight into their discussion of the pivotal role that the human resource play in ensuring that whatever strategy organizations chooses to adapt, the employees are always key to its success (Boswell, 2006). Boswell has been very precise when she said that employees should be incorporated into the plan to strategize and each employee necessarily has to know the part they play to the success of the plan (Boswell, 2006, 1489). The concept of the line of sight according to Boswell revolves around the employees knowledge of their role and not so much on what the objective of the advocacy is. In an article published in 2006, the authors noted that while organizations strive to develop a strong brand name and build its reputation and credibility, managers should not neglect how employees respond to it through the modification or enhance of their role (King & Grace, 2006). Hence, to effectively strategize employees should be aware of their role.

Boswell furthered that failure to include the employees into the plan might cause the organization some disappointment (Boswell, 2006). Neglecting to inform the employees would only mean that the people to execute the strategy are submitting to blind compliance (Shore & Wayne, 1993). Commitment is immensely pivotal to the success of the strategy (Mueller et al., 1992), and this is held pivotal to the concept of line of sight as indicated in Boswells model. A committed employee shares in the objectives and advocacy of the organization as would any loyal individual (Niehoff et al., 2001). Employees require empowerment from the management. The employees need to know that they are being considered important and are being entrusted with a responsibility that could potentially lead to the success of the organization.

Boswell further reiterates that employees do not need to know every intricate detail of the strategies if this is what concerns the management (Boswell & Boudreau, 2001). In an article that Boswell wrote along with her co-author John Boudreau, they mentioned that organizations can effectively measure whether the strategy developed effective, and this is through the concept of the line of sight. If employees are aware of their role into the created strategy, the organization can already be assured of its success. This is considering that the success of the project lays greatly on the hands of the people who works towards it implementation. The same principle applies to employees and organization working towards a particular driver for success. If employees are aware of their role, the more effective and efficient the employees will be in performing their tasks.


Various ideas having great influences on job design have been proposed in the scientific management. One of the famous ideas is to select the appropriate method for an employee to perform an activity. This appropriate methodology will ensure maximize the efficiency and minimize wastage. Another importance idea which has a tremendous effect on organizations production is the job specialization. In scientific management, Job specialization plays a significant role and refers to breaking down the activities into smaller and simplest form. By this breaking down each activity can be performed by few individual repeatedly with greater accuracy (Boltanski & Chia...

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