Learning as a means of creating value: A case study of the case company Kiilerich as participant in Fashion Accelerator

Ditte Søndergaard Nielsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis treats the subject of learning as a means of creating value. This topic is applied to the Danish fashion industry with focus on how learning can create value to the small fashion company, Kiilerich. The purpose is for the author to increase her understanding of the linkage between learning and value creation. Further, this thesis provides an investigation into a field which has been somewhat abandoned in academic literature, namely the application of organizational learning in a small company perspective. Different complimentary theoretical streams have provided the foundation for analyzing how learning creates value to the small company, Kiilerich. Thus theoretical frameworks of the Organizational Learning field have been applied to highlight the process of knowledge creation and learning. Network theories further provide insights into the impact of network synergies on learning outcomes. Finally, the thesis is placed within the Resource Based View which gives it a strategic scope. The integration of these particular academic branches is necessary when trying to capture the essence of the value created to Kiilerich. The author finds that the value created from learning depends largely on the mode in which this knowledge has been converted. The knowledge conversion modes have demonstrated vastly different learning results to Kiilerich, with socialization processes being more value creating in terms of fostering double-loop learning; and combination processes being least value creating, not generating any learning at all. The tacit/explicit nature of the knowledge being converted further determines the value created for Kiilerich as the company’s possession of tacit knowledge can lead to competitive advantages, which the possession of explicit knowledge cannot. Findings also suggest that the network facilitated by Fashion Accelerator creates value to Kiilerich in terms of enhancing the company’s strategic capability through resource-exchange. Within this network Kiilerich leans the competences of the other participants. The value created depends on the owner, Sanne Kiilerich’s great ability to perceive her environment as an open system and thus embrace coopetition. The network thus functions as a substitute organization and support structure for Kiilerich within which value creating learning can take place. Finally, the role of Fashion Accelerator on the learning outcome of Kiilerich has been discussed in terms of questioning the quality of the knowledge of the lecturers as well as the initiators ability to adequately facilitate the necessary activities for learning. In this context it has been stated that the project fails in offering a space for networking.

EducationsCand.merc.smc Strategic Market Creation, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2009
Number of pages122