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Learning from Samples of One or Fewer
James G. March, Lee S. Sproull and Michal Tamuz
Vol. 2, No. 1, Special Issue: Organizational Learning: Papers in Honor of (and by) James G. March (1991), pp. 1-13
Published by: INFORMS
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2634936
Page Count: 13
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Organizations learn from experience. Sometimes, however, history is not generous with experience. We explore how organizations convert infrequent events into interpretations of history, and how they balance the need to achieve agreement on interpretations with the need to interpret history correctly. We ask what methods are used, what problems are involved, and what improvements might be made. Although the methods we observe are not guaranteed to lead to consistent agreement on interpretations, valid knowledge, improved organizational performance, or organizational survival, they provide possible insights into the possibilities for and problems of learning from fragments of history.
Organization Science © 1991 INFORMS