Organizational Learning in Rare Events: The Case of Learning to Litigate Intellectual Property (IP)

Kristina Vaarst Andersen, Karin Beukel, Beverly B. Tyler

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


    When organizations encounter rare events they often find it challenging to extract learning from the experience. We analyze opportunities for organizational learning in one such rare event, namely Intellectual Property (IP) litigation, i.e., when organizations take disputes regarding their intellectual property to court. We propose, that organizations can learn to litigate, although it is a rare event, by applying mechanisms in a current litigation case that have been successful in previous litigation cases. However, we also posit, that the usefulness of these learning mechanisms for a current litigation case is contingent on the type of litigation, contract versus infringement cases. If the organization is involved
    in litigation based on a contract breach, we suggest that learning will be less useful because the contract preceding the litigation defines the modus operandi and leaves the organization little discretion to utilize any learning from past litigation success. Thus, learning appears be to most beneficial in infringement cases. Based on statistical analysis of 10,211 litigation court cases in China, we find support for our hypotheses. Our findings suggest that organizations can learn to litigate, although litigation is a relatively rare event, if they leverage what they have learned from previously successful litigations. However, learning is less likely to be applicable to contract cases than it will be in infringement cases.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2016
    Number of pages39
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    EventThe DRUID 20th Anniversary Conference 2016: Innovation and the Dynamics of Change - Copenhagen Business School, København, Denmark
    Duration: 13 Jun 201615 Jun 2016
    Conference number: 38


    ConferenceThe DRUID 20th Anniversary Conference 2016
    LocationCopenhagen Business School
    OtherThe DRUID Society Conference 2016
    SponsorCopenhagen Business School
    Internet address

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