Understanding "Strategic Learning": Linking Organizational Learning, Knowledge Management, and Sensemaking

James B. Thomas, Stephanie Watts Sussman, John C. Henderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

228 Scopus citations


Strategic learning aims to generate learning in support of future strategic initiatives that will, in turn, foster knowledge asymmetries that can lead to differences in organizational performance. From a case study of a unique organization whose purpose is to facilitate strategic knowledge distillation, it was found that this process is characterized by targeted information gathering that relies on diverse experts for interpretation as well as validation. It also embodies the organizational capability to leverage information technologies in the distillation effort, integrating them with processes for generating, storing, and transporting rich, de-embedded knowledge across multiple levels of the organization. As a result of the case study, a model of the strategic learning is developed and a series of propositions regarding its context and processes are presented based on this model. The model highlights key dimensions of strategic learning that suggest design parameters for organizations building strategic learning systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-345
Number of pages15
JournalOrganization Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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