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What managers can learn from knowledge intensive technology startups? •

Exploring the skillset for developing adaptive organizational learning capabilities of a successful start-up enterprise in management education

Society and Economy
Diána Dóra Beke
Andrea Sólyom
, and
Andrea Juhászné Klér


The study shows what management students could learn from technology startups from an organizational learning (learning organization) perspective; and whether or on what level this entrepreneurial mindset is built into management education. First, the organizational learning patterns and adaptive entrepreneurial skillset of startups are identified, based on a review of the recent literature focusing on knowledge-intensive technology startups' organizational learning patterns. Then, qualitative interviews and document analysis are applied to find out whether or on what level the improvement of these skills for developing an adaptive and successful startup are present as ‘learning organizations’ are integrated in top Central-European higher management education curricula. Based on the literature review, the theoretical framework is introduced, consisting of five pillars of ‘start-up learning’: ambidextrous entrepreneurial learning, business model development, failure and experiential learning, benchmarking and learning from others, and agile product development. The empirical research looks for these pillars in management MSc programs of a top Central-European business school. The most important findings reveal that the analyzed management education programs strongly prepare students with benchmarking skills. However, the study also showed that the culture and experience of failure and the capability of learning from failure are missing from these education programs.

Open access