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To What Extent do Informal Learning and Technology Transfer Impact Absorptive Capacity?

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posted on 2015-08-05, 14:49 authored by Metusalem Nakale
This thesis aimed to investigate the extent to which informal learning and technology transfer impact absorptive capacity and to uncover how individual social agents contribute to the development of absorptive capacity. Research on absorptive capacity has hitherto mainly focused on the use of proxies such as R&D intensity and the number of PhD holders in organizations to measure absorptive capacity. This preoccupation with proxies has retarded progress with respect to our understanding of how absorptive capacity is developed. The literature review revealed that most previous studies employed the quantitative paradigm and failed to capture the contextual dimensions of absorptive capacity. Most studies focused mainly on organizational level aspects thereby neglecting the individual antecedents of absorptive capacity. In order to reveal aspects of absorptive capacity development that quantitative studies are unable reveal, this study employed a qualitative paradigm, based on the constructionist philosophy. The data were generated through the use of semi-structured interviews, supplemented by field notes. The data analysis drew on the grounded theory approach. The evidence generated by this study shows that informal learning and knowledge/ technology transfer impact the ability to integrate and use external knowledge through individual agency. The findings also show that individual employees rely on their cognitive resources to acquire knowledge. Further, the results suggest that working with others, interacting with them, helps with knowledge transfer and institutionalization. The main implications of this study are that managers need to facilitate the creation of more learning opportunities in the workplace. Such learning has the potential to contribute significantly to the aspiration of creating a knowledge economy, especially in the context of Namibia. Also, organizations need to forge more links with industrial forerunners in order to learn from them and build up their own technological capabilities.



Green, William; Bishop, Dan

Date of award


Author affiliation

Centre for Labour Market Studies

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • DSocSci



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    University of Leicester Theses