Learning from Toyota: How action learning can foster competitive advantage in new product development (NPD).

Barbara Fuchs

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


New product development and commercialization are essential to entrepreneurial growth and
international competitiveness. Excellence in this area is strongly supported by individual and
organizational learning efforts. By analyzing how Japanese car manufacturer Toyota organizes
learning, this paper evaluates the potential of action learning to manage organizational change in
the area of new product development (NPD). The indications of the study are that action
learning represents an efficient strategy to manage continuous change necessary for the successful
innovation of products and processes. Additionally, workers at Toyota involved in learning
practices similar to action learning are personally committed to their jobs and satisfied with their
careers. The findings also suggest that action learning offers a valuable toolkit approach to
anticipate and rapidly react to external shocks and changed market conditions. Managers are able
to revise and restructure work organization by reconciling grown bundles of unique capabilities
with new skill requirements to cope with strategic challenges.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25 - 43
JournalInternational Journal for Action Learning: Research and Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2007

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502

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