The significance of organisational learning in a global context: A stakeholder and knowledge-based approach

Document Type

Journal Article




School of Business and Law


Originally published as: Duarte Alonso, A., Duarte Alonso, A., Austin, I. P., & Austin, I. P. (2017). The significance of organisational learning in a global context: A stakeholder and knowledge-based approach. Review of International Business and Strategy, 27(1), 53-69. Original article available here



The purpose of this study is to examine organisational learning (OL) among firms involved in global-trade relationships. The study adopts the stakeholder theory (ST) and the knowledge-based theory (KBT) of the firm to illuminate the research and facilitate the understanding of the areas under investigation. The study, therefore, makes contributions to the extant international business and strategy literature, both in new empirical evidence and in theoretical refinement.


In-depth, unstructured, face-to-face and telephone interviews were conducted with owners/co-owners of nine Western Australian firms operating internationally.


Collectively, participants perceive improvements in trade relationships through increased understanding and knowledge. Importantly, OL is significantly affected by systematic and dramatic/strategic quantum change. Alignments with ST and KBT emerged, emphasising the usefulness of these frameworks to understand owners/co-owners’ best-practice stakeholder management. Furthermore, the study proposes a refinement of these frameworks to facilitate understanding of the participating firms’ OL-related strategies.


While there is a rich body of literature on OL, various knowledge gaps have been identified in contemporary research. The study provides value by contributing to new knowledge in these areas and by proposing a refinement of the used theoretical frameworks in explaining OL among Western Australian global firms. In addition, despite Western Australia’s geographic proximity to various overseas consumer markets, very few empirical studies have examined the above areas in the context of this state’s firms. By focusing on Western Australian firms, the study also provides an element of originality.