Organizational Experience-Performance Relationship: A Contingency Model and a Research Agenda



Organizational experience is an increasingly invoked construct in management literature used to explain the behavior of organizations and the outcomes of that behavior. While prior work generally suggests experience to have a positive effect on performance in a focal activity under a wide variety of circumstances, recent research in several streams of literature has recognized many circumstances under which the effects of experience are less clear or even negative. Given the inconclusive evidence on the nature of the experience-performance relationship, building on organizational learning and supporting theories, we develop a conceptual model of how the applicability, accessibility, and adoption of experience moderate the effects of organizational experience on the performance in the focal activity. Our paper develops a refined conceptualization of the effects of organizational experience by characterizing key dimensions of the construct that explain inconsistent findings of the organizational experience–performance relationship, offering insights on interplay between these dimensions and thereby clarifies the boundaries of organizational experience construct. By distinguishing between potential and realized performance effects of organizational experience, our theoretical model aims to fundamentally extend existing theory of organizational learning