Relational governance, organizational unlearning and learning: implications for performance

Volkan Yeniaras, Anthony Di Benedetto, Ilker Kaya, Mumin Dayan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: Drawing on the literature on dynamic skills, this study builds upon and empirically tests a conceptual model that connects business and political ties, organizational unlearning, organizational learning and firm performance. Specifically, this study suggests that business ties enable and political ties inhibit organizational unlearning (i.e. regenerative dynamic capability), which may, in turn, affect exploratory (i.e. renewing dynamic capability) and exploitative (i.e. incremental dynamic capability) innovation behaviors of the firm. Thus, the purpose of this study is to offer a theoretical framework in which organizational unlearning and learning act as mediating mechanisms between business and political ties and firm performance. Design/methodology/approach: Structural equation modeling and mediation analyzes were used on a sample of 302 small and medium-size enterprises in Turkey. Findings: This study found that business ties enable organizational unlearning while political ties impede it. This study further demonstrates that business ties positively and political ties negatively relate to organizational learning through organizational unlearning. In addition, this study shows that political ties are mostly negatively and indirectly related to firm performance through organizational learning while business ties positively and indirectly relate to firm performance. Practical implications: The findings demonstrate the critical role that personal networks play in organizational learning and firm performance. This study provides evidence to the need to recognize and evaluate the potential and undesirable impacts of political ties on cultivating innovation skills and firm performance. In addition, this study recommends managers to embrace the significance of organizational unlearning in strategic renewal, particularly as it applies to building renewing and incremental dynamic skills for enhanced firm performance. Originality/value: This study offers a deeper perspective of the dissected relations of social ties in emerging economies to firm performance by considering organizational unlearning and learning behaviors as mediating mechanisms.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)469-492
    Number of pages24
    JournalJournal of Business and Industrial Marketing
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 11 2021


    • Business ties
    • Dynamic capabilities
    • Firm performance
    • Organizational learning
    • Organizational unlearning
    • Political ties

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Business and International Management
    • Marketing


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