Corporate Responsiveness and Organizational Learning

by James Post, Marilyn Mellis



The article analyzes the stages through which an organization's management passes in responding to a social issue and to identify the manner of progression through these various stages. By comparing the extent to which a particular pattern of response to one issue is repeated in dealing with similar social issues, one can determine if organizational learning has occurred. The article reviews two extreme models of the responsiveness process and organizational learning, business policy, and pressure-response model. The response to the issue of equal employment opportunity for women in Polaroid Corp. is studied. The experience at Polaroid suggests two principal conclusions. First, corporate responsiveness to social issues cannot be categorically classified as fitting either the business policy or the pressure-response model. The response process to a single issue may develop in a series of phases, each of which may follow a different pattern. A second conclusion is that management commitment involves organizational learning.

California Management Review

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Published at Berkeley Haas for more than sixty years, California Management Review seeks to share knowledge that challenges convention and shows a better way of doing business.

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