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Organizational learning capability, organizational commitment, and organizational effectiveness


Ussahawanitchakit, Phapruke

ABSTRACT

This study aims at empirically examining and investigating the relationships among organizational learning capability, organizational commitment, and organizational effectiveness of accounting firms in Thailand. According to the existing literature, organizational learning capability is an important strategy that will help firms achieve greatly organizational commitment and gain outstanding organizational effectiveness. In this study, four dimensions of organizational learning capability (managerial commitment, systems perspective, openness and experimentation, and knowledge transfer and integration) were chosen as independent variables. Also, organizational commitment is a mediating effect of the organizational learning capability-organizational effectiveness relationships. The results demonstrate that openness and experimentation, and knowledge transfer and integration have significant positive impacts on organizational commitment and managerial commitment has an important positive relationship with organizational effectiveness. Likewise, organizational commitment is positively related to organizational effectiveness. Thus, theoretical and managerial contributions are provided and limitations of the current study and suggestions for further research are introduced.

Keywords: Organizational Learning Capability, Managerial Commitment, Systems Perspective, Openness and Experimentation, Knowledge Transfer and Integration, Organizational Commitment, Organizational Effectiveness

1. INTRODUCTION

Nowadays, the growing liberalization and integration of global trading systems, the elimination of political and economic boundaries, the pervasive developments of communications technology, and the rapid globalization of products and services are rapidly transforming the global business arena (Lee and Habte-Giorgis, 2004). The rigorous competition between businesses in recent years, firms have caused to build, develop, and search useful strategies and important tools to create a competitive advantage, effectively promote more competitiveness, obtain better performance, and greatly gain longer viability in both domestic and global competitive markets (Ussahawanitchakit, 2007). Firms with greater effective strategy likely appear to success in the rigorous environments. Accordingly, organizational learning has become one of the essential instruments for firms’ operations, competitive advantage, and performance (Garvin, 2000). It helps understand customer needs and market requirements very well, and respond them effectively in order to increase customer satisfaction and survive and sustain in the competitive markets. It is also fast becoming a crucial factor in organizational performance and survival as a result of the evolution of the competitive environments. Thus, organizational learning is a source of heterogeneity among organizations and a basis for a possible competitive advantage in dealing with business management practices and situations (Jerez-Gomez, Cespedes-Lorente, and Valle-Cabrera, 2005).

With the challenges of the organizational learning, a capability to initiate, develop, enhance, and exploit learning in an organization is necessary. Here, organizational learning capability is proposed to become a key driver in promoting organizational commitment and gaining organizational effectiveness in the competitive markets and environments. It refers to the ability of firms to implement the appropriate management practices, structures, and procedures that facilitate and encourage learning processes (Akgun, Keskin, Byrne, and Aren, 2007). It is a bundle of tangible and intangible resources, or skills which firms use to achieve new forms of competitive advantage through processing knowledge. Also, organizational learning is the process of individual and group learning applied to the accomplishment of firms’ vision and performance goals under a set of the management practices and internal conditions (Goh and Richards, 1997). It consists of clarity of purpose and mission, leadership commitment and empowerment, experimentation and rewards, transfer of knowledge, and teamwork and group problem solving. Likewise, organizational learning is defined as the ability of firms to process knowledge, including a competency to create, acquire, transfer, and integrate knowledge, and to modify its behavior to reflect the new cognitive situation within a view to improving its performance (Jerez-Gomez, Cespedes-Lorente, and Valle-Cabrera, 2005). It includes managerial commitment, systems perspective, openness and experimentation, and knowledge transfer and integration. In the early discussion, firms are likely to utilize organizational learning capability in enhancing competitive advantage and achieving business excellence. Then, this study definitely exploits the four dimensions of organizational learning capability (managerial commitment, systems perspective, openness and experimentation, and knowledge transfer and integration) to be a main antecedent of organizational commitment and organizational effectiveness in the uncertain environments.

While firms have attempted to build and develop their organizational learning capability, and implement their organizational learning capability to gain a competitive advantage in both domestic and global markets, this study proposes the concept of organizational learning capability to be a key role in driving firms’ organizational commitment and organizational effectiveness. In the existing empirical investigation, only limited academic research, however, has a systematic explanation between the relationships of organizational learning capability, organizational commitment, and organizational effectiveness. Hence, the main purpose of this study is to explore, address, and assess the existing literature of organizational learning capability, organizational commitment, and organizational effectiveness and to investigate the relationships among organizational learning capability, organizational commitment, and organizational effectiveness. In this study, the key research questions are: (1) how organizational learning capability affects organizational commitment and organizational effectiveness, (2) how the differences of managerial commitment, systems perspective, openness and experimentation, and knowledge transfer and integration influence organizational commitment and organizational effectiveness, (3) how organizational commitment has an association with organizational effectiveness, (4) do organizational learning capability have a direct effect on organizational effectiveness, and (5) is organizational commitment a mediating effect of the organizational learning capability-organizational effectiveness relationships.

This study is outlined as follows. The first section reviews existing significant literature in the areas and streams of organizational learning capability, organizational commitment, and organizational effectiveness, the links between the concepts of organizational learning capability to organizational commitment and organizational effectiveness, and develops the key research hypotheses of those relationships. The second section explicitly describes the details of research methods, including data collection, measurements, and statistics. The third section gives the analysis results of the current study and corresponding discussion with some of the reasons and explanations. The final section summarizes the findings of the study and points both theoretical and managerial contributions, and presents suggestions for further research and the limitations of the study.

2. RELEVANT LITERATURE REVIEW AND RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

The research model underlying the study is presented in Figure 1. This study attempts to conceptually link organizational learning capability to organizational commitment and organizational effectiveness. The research model of the study, organizational learning capability, is an independent variable, which includes four dimensions of managerial commitment, systems perspective, openness and experimentation, and knowledge transfer and integration. Organizational learning capability has become a major strategy which firms use it as an important tool to encourage organizational commitment, improve business effectiveness, achieve competitive advantage, and gain viability in the competitive markets. In this study, we propose that organizational learning capability has a significantly positive influence on organizational effectiveness through a mediating effect of organizational commitment. Thus, our research model shows the relationships between the four dimensions of organizational learning capability, organizational commitment, and organizational effectiveness.

2.1 Managerial Commitment

Managerial commitment refers to the ability of firms to develop and facilitate managerial support and leadership commitment for the innovation process and employee motivation in creating and building knowledge in an organization (Akgun, Keskin, Byrne, and Aren, 2007). It promotes personal efficacy and learning, and the ability for an organization to change based on the environmental conditions and situations. In the competitive environments, firms with greater managerial commitment tend to enhance higher performance and encourage greater competitive advantage.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

Accordingly, firms’ executives are important players in fostering a learning climate through their behaviors, including seeking feedback, being open to criticisms, and admitting mistakes, and empowering their employees to make decisions and take some risks (Goh and Richards, 1997). They seem to commit themselves with learning climate and process in order to distinctively support the creation of organizational commitment and explicitly promote the performances of business operations, efficiency and effectiveness. Also, executives need to recognize the relevance of learning via developing a culture that promotes the acquisition, creation, and transfer of knowledge as fundamental values, resources, and competencies in facing up to new challenges and influencing on firms’ long-term results and success (Jerez-Gomez, Cespedes-Lorente, and Valle-Cabrera, 2005). Thus, firms’ executives that can effectively support learning climate and process are likely to help their organizations survive and sustain in the rigorous environments.

In the interest of the concept of organizational learning capability, managerial commitment is an important factor for product innovativeness and firm performance (Akgun, Keskin, Byrne, and Aren, 2007). It helps understand the development of successful new products through learning climate in the organization and exploit it for improving their effectiveness and performance. Then, management commitment provides unique competitive advantages from firms in their product development activities, and excellent performance. From the exist literature, managerial commitment is a significant antecedent of firms’ organizational commitment and organizational effectiveness. For service industries, firms’ executives are committed with learning climate and process in order to support employee commitment in an organization for creating best service quality and excellence and initiating outstanding effectiveness and performance. Similarly, accounting firms with stronger managerial commitment likely appears to achieve better organizational efficiency and receive greater organizational effectiveness. Thus, managerial commitment is likely to have a positive influence on organizational commitment and organizational effectiveness. Therefore,

Hypothesis 1a: The greater the accounting firms’ managerial commitment, the more likely that they will achieve better organizational commitment.

Hypothesis 1b: The greater the accounting firms’ managerial commitment, the more likely that they will achieve better organizational effectiveness.

2.2 Systems Perspective

Systems perspective is also a main component of organizational learning capability. It is defined as the ability of firms to bring organizational members together around a common identity and a shared vision, interconnect the activities of employees, including the promotions of joint actions, and develop relationships based on the exchange of information and shared mental models (Akgun, Keskin, Byrne, and Aren, 2007). It supports employees in an organization to systematically join, share, and exchange knowledge for helping firms sustain in the competitive markets. Likewise, systems perspective distinctively encourages employees to establish teamwork and group problem-solving through reducing the dependency on upper management and working cross-functionally (Goh and Richards, 1997).

Additionally, knowledge is shared among organizational members and it helps better understand individuals in the organization, including their needs and works, which encourage knowledge transfer very well. Systems perspective is the existence and presence of a common language and joint action by all the individuals involves in the learning process (Jerez-Gomez, Cespedes-Lorente, and Valle-Cabrera, 2005). It also emphasizes in shared knowledge, perceptions, and beliefs. Thus, firms with greater systems perspective tend to create unique knowledge for developing organizational commitment and achieving firm effectiveness and performance.

While systems perspective is necessary for establishing valuable knowledge in the organization, firms have utilized it to improve their business operations and excellence, and sustain competitiveness Systems perspective is a key issue in determining product innovativeness and firm performance (Akgun, Keskin, Byrne, and Aren, 2007). It enhances successful new product developments via learning process in the organization and enhances firms’ organizational commitment, and business effectiveness and performance. Then, firms with stronger systems perspective positively associate to act more organizational commitment and perform greater business effectiveness and excellence. Also, accounting firms likely implement the concept of systems perspective to fulfill customer needs and increase customer satisfaction through offering unique new services and best service quality. Thus, systems perspective is will have a positive impact on organizational commitment and organizational effectiveness. Therefore,

Hypothesis 2a: The greater the accounting firms’ systems perspective, the more likely that they will achieve better organizational commitment,

Hypothesis 2b: The greater the accounting firms’ systems perspective, the more likely that they will achieve better organizational effectiveness.

2.3 Openness and Experimentation

Openness and experimentation plays a significant role in explaining firms’ organizational commitment and organizational effectiveness. It refers to the ability of firms to build a climate of openness and experimentation in accepting new ideas and points of view in both internal and external aspects, and allowing individual knowledge to constantly renewed, widened, and improved (Akgun, Keskin, Byrne, and Aren, 2007). With the environments of organizational learning capability, firms definitely favor openness and experimentation to search for new, innovative, and flexible solutions to current and future conditions and problems based on the possible uses of different methods and procedures. Accordingly, firms can present the opportunities for openness and experimentation (Goh and Richards, 1997). They can effectively design the challenges of openness and experimentation activities through compensation systems of innovation and risk-taking rewards. Then, firms need to encourage and support the freedom to open to and experiment with new work methods and innovative processes. To create a climate of openness and experimentation, firm need to commit to cultural and functional diversities, accept and learn all types of opinions and experiences, and avoid the egocentric attitude of considering individual’s own values, beliefs, and experiences (Jerez-Gomez, Cespedes-Lorente, and Valle-Cabrera, 2005). Thus, both openness and experimentation to new ideas, methods, and procedures are important to help firm create innovative products and services, and offer outstanding and unique practices in order to meet customer needs, requirements, expectations, and satisfaction.

In the innovative business environments, firms have attempts to support their employees to create new products and services by building climates of openness and experimentation in the organization (Akgun, Keskin, Byrne, and Aren, 2007). They distinctively seek a way to allocate resources and capabilities, including funding, work system, compensation and reward, innovate climate, and vision, policy, and structure. Then, firms with paying more attention in openness and experimentation likely occur to gain business excellence and achieve great organizational effectiveness over their rivals. Accounting firms are also likely to create new services, and promote organizational commitment and firm effectiveness through the climates of openness and experimentation. Thus, openness and experimentation is likely to have a positive effect on organizational commitment and organizational effectiveness. Therefore,

Hypothesis 3a: The greater the accounting firms’ openness and experimentation, the more likely that they will achieve better organizational commitment.

Hypothesis 3b: The greater the accounting firms’ openness and experimentation, the more likely that they will achieve better organizational effectiveness.

2.4 Knowledge Transfer and Integration

Lastly, knowledge transfer and integration becomes a necessary component of organizational learning capability. It is defined as the ability of firms to internally spread knowledge through the verbal and nonverbal communications, including formal and informal conversations, dialogue, debate, and interaction among individuals, and effectively exploit knowledge through the information systems that aid in the accuracy, reproducibility, and availability of the information (Akgun, Keskin, Byrne, and Aren, 2007). It helps firms acquire valuable knowledge which they spread it to organizational members and exploit it for expanding competitive advantage and accomplishing business effectiveness and excellence. Likewise, knowledge transfer and integration refers to the ability of firms to distribute knowledge across departmental boundaries and deliver knowledge from the external environments, including customers, suppliers, competitors, and markets into the organization (Goh and Richards, 1997). With the concentration of knowledge transfer and integration, firms need to communicate knowledge and information clearly, fast, and focused across functional and sub-unit boundaries within the organization. Also, this dimension of organizational learning capability includes internal transfer and integration of knowledge (Jerez-Gomez, Cespedes-Lorente, and Valle-Cabrera, 2005). Knowledge transfer and integration leads to the creation of a collective corpus of knowledge rooted in organizational culture, work processes, and organizational memory. Thus, firms with greater knowledge transfer and integration tend to recover and apply knowledge to different situations that guarantee firms’ constant learning to rotate among organizational members in order to enhance organizational commitment, and earn business excellence and performance.

To successfully transfer and integrate knowledge, firms extensively apply this strategy to improve employee commitment in the organization, acquire competitiveness and competitive advantage, and accomplish business effectiveness and excellence (Akgun, Keskin, Byrne, and Aren, 2007). Also, they efficiently exploit the concept of knowledge transfer and integration to create and develop new and innovative products and services. Then firms with stronger knowledge transfer and integration definitely happen to encourage greater organizational commitment and earn higher organizational effectiveness. For accounting firms, they utilize knowledge transfer and integration to become a source of sustainable competitive advantage in the rigorous markets and environments. Thus, knowledge transfer and integration is likely to have a positive effect on organizational commitment and organizational effectiveness. Therefore,

Hypothesis 4a: The greater the accounting firms’ knowledge transfer and integration, the more likely that they will achieve better organizational commitment.

Hypothesis 4b: The greater the accounting firms’ knowledge transfer and integration, the more likely that they will achieve better organizational effectiveness.

2.5 Organizational Commitment

Organizational commitment is a significantly mediating effect of the relationships. It helps link organizational learning capability to organizational effectiveness. Similarly, organizational commitment is a mediating determinant of the work-family conflict-job satisfaction relationships in Indian hospitality businesses (Namasivayam and Zhao, 2007). It refers to an attitude in the form of an attachment that exists between the individual and the organization and it is reflected in the relative strength of an employee’s psychological identification and involvement with the organization (Jaramillo, Mulki, and Marshall, 2005). It is an employee’s intention to continue working in the organization. Also, organizational commitment is defined as a psychological bond to the organization that influences individuals to act in ways that are consistent with the interests of the organization (Schwepker, 2001). It presents a strong belief in, and acceptance of, the organization’s goals and values; a willingness to exert considerable effort on behalf of the organization; and a strong desire to maintain membership in the organization (Paulin, Ferguson, and Bergeron, 2006). It includes affective commitment, normative commitment, and continuance commitment. Then, organizational commitment is a key mediating effect of the organizational learning capability-organizational effectiveness relationships. Thus, organizational commitment is likely to have a positive relationship with organizational effectiveness. Therefore,

Hypothesis 5: The greater the accounting firms’ organizational commitment, the more likely that they will achieve better organizational effectiveness.

3. RESEARCH METHODS

3.1 Sample Selection and Data Collection Procedure

Empirically verifying the relationships among organizational learning capability, organizational commitment, and organizational effectiveness, this study selected accounting firms in Thailand as the sample. In all, 500 firms were randomly chosen from the list. A mail survey procedure via the questionnaire was used for data collection. The key participants in this study were top executives or managing directors of accounting firms in Thailand. With regard to the questionnaire mailing, 25 surveys were undeliverable because some firms were no longer in business or had moved to unknown locations. Deducting the undeliverables from the original 500 mailed, the valid mailing was 475 surveys, from which 141 responses were received. Of the surveys completed and returned, only 115 were usable. The effective response rate was approximately 24.21%. According to Aaker, Kumar and Day (2001), the response rate for a mail survey, without an appropriate follow-up procedure, is less than 20%. Thus, the response rate of this study is considered acceptable.

To test potential and non-response bias and to detect and consider possible problems with non-response errors, the assessment and investigation of non-response-bias was centered on two different procedures: (1) a comparison of sample statistics and known values of the population, such as number of employees, number of years in doing business, and amount of capital funding, and (2) a comparison of first wave and second wave data recommended by Armstrong and Overton (1977). Neither procedure showed significant differences.

3.2 Variables

To examine the relationships mentioned earlier, all of the variables were obtained from the survey. Here, measurements of dependent variable, independent variables, and control variables are described as follows. Organizational effectiveness was a dependent variable, and it refers to the outcome of business operations and performance that is considered with a comparison of firms’ vision, goals, objectives, and policies. This construct was measured using the scale items introduced by Yeheskel, Newburry, and Zeira (2004), including three scale items: expected growth, the expectations of their own management, and the expectations of their customers.

The interest of the relationships among organizational learning capability, organizational commitment, and organizational effectiveness, independent variables included managerial commitment, systems perspective, openness and experimentation, and knowledge transfer and integration. Managerial commitment is the ability of firms to develop and facilitate managerial support and leadership commitment for the innovation process and employee motivation in creating and building knowledge in an organization (Akgun, Keskin, Byrne, and Aren, 2007). Four scale items were applied to measure the degree to which firms promote personal efficacy and learning, and the ability for an organization to change based on the environmental conditions and situations. Systems perspective is the ability of firms to bring organizational members together around a common identity and a shared vision, interconnect the activities of employees, including the promotions of joint actions, and develop relationships based on the exchange of information and shared mental models (Akgun, Keskin, Byrne, and Aren, 2007). Three scale items were implemented to evaluate the degree to which firms support employees in an organization to systematically join, share, and exchange knowledge for helping firms sustain in the competitive markets.

Openness and experimentation is the ability of firms to build a climate of openness and experimentation in accepting new ideas and points of view in both internal and external aspects, and allowing individual knowledge to constantly renewed, widened, and improved (Akgun, Keskin, Byrne, and Aren, 2007). Four scale items were utilized to assess the degree to which firms favor openness and experimentation to search for new, innovative, and flexible solutions to current and future conditions and problems based on the possible uses of different methods and procedures. Lastly, knowledge transfer and integration is the ability of firms to internally spread knowledge through the verbal and non-verbal communications, including formal and informal conversations, dialogue, debate, and interaction among individuals, and effectively exploit knowledge through the information systems that aid in the accuracy, reproducibility, and availability of the information (Akgun, Keskin, Byrne, and Aren, 2007). Three scale items were exploited to gauge the degree to which firms acquire valuable knowledge which they spread it to organizational members and exploit it for expanding competitive advantage and accomplishing business effectiveness and excellence.

Likewise, organizational commitment is a mediating variable of the relationships. It is an attitude in the form of an attachment that exists between the individual and the organization and it is reflected in the relative strength of an employee’s psychological identification and involvement with the organization (Jaramillo, Mulki, and Marshall, 2005). Three scale items were applied to evaluate affective commitment, normative commitment, and continuance commitment.

The control variables were also likely to affect the hypothesized relationships, including firm experience, firm size, and firm capital. Firm experience may influence a firm’s technological learning capacity, international business activities, and the profitability of foreign operations (Zahra, Ireland, and Hitt, 2000). It was measured by the number of years a firm has been in existence. Firm size may affect the ability to learn and diversify operations, and to survive in the markets (Arora and Fosfuri, 2000). It was measured by the number of employees in a firm. Finally, firm capital may impact the capacity of a firm to implement business strategies in order to achieve superior performance (Ussahawanitchakit, 2005). It was measured by the amount of money a firm has invested in doing business.

3.3 Method

Factor analysis was first utilized to examine, measure, investigate, and assess the underlying relationships of a large number of items and to determine whether they can be reduced to a smaller set of factors. The factor analyses conducted were done separately on each set of the items representing a particular scale due to limited observations. With respect to the confirmatory factor analysis, this analysis has a high potential to inflate the component loadings. Thus, a higher rule-of-thumb, a cut-off value of 0.40, was adopted (Nunnally and Berstein, 1994). All factor loadings are greater than the 0.40 cut-off and are statistically significant. The reliability of the measurements was evaluated by Cronbach alpha coefficients. In the scale reliability, Cronbach alpha coefficients are greater than 0.70 (Nunnally and Berstein, 1994). The scales of all measures appear to produce internally consistent results; thus, these measures are deemed appropriate for further analysis because they express an accepted validity and reliability in this study. Table 1 shows the results for both factor loadings and Cronbach alpha for multiple-item scales used in this study.

To test the hypothesized relationships, the ordinary least squares (OLS) regression analysis is used to estimate factors affecting accounting firms’ effectiveness. Because both dependent and independent variables in this study were neither nominal data nor categorical data, OLS is an appropriate method for examining the hypothesized relationships (Aulakh, Kotabe and Teegen, 2000). In the study, the models of the aforementioned relationships are as follows.

Equation 1: Organizational Commitment = [[beta].sub.01] + [[beta].sub.1]Managerial Commitment + [[beta].sub.2]Systems Perspective + [[beta].sub.3]Openness and Experimentation + [[beta].sub.4]Knowledge Transfer and Integration + [[beta].sub.5]Firm Experience + [[beta].sub.6]Firm Size + [[beta].sub.7]Firm Capital + [epsilon]

Equation 2: Organizational Effectiveness = [[beta].sub.02] + [[beta].sub.8]Managerial Commitment + [[beta].sub.9]Systems Perspective + [[beta].sub.10]Openness and Experimentation + [[beta].sub.11]Knowledge Transfer and Integration + [[beta].sub.12]Firm Experience + [[beta].sub.13]Firm Size + [[beta].sub.14]Firm Capital + [epsilon]

Equation 3: Organizational Effectiveness = [[beta].sub.03] + [[beta].sub.15]Organizational Commitment + [[beta].sub.16] Firm Experience + [[beta].sub.17]Firm Size + [[beta].sub.18]Firm Capital + [epsilon]

4. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

The descriptive statistics and correlation matrix for all variables are presented in Table 2. With respect to potential problems relating to multicollinearity, variance inflation factors (VIF) were used to provide information on the extent to which non-orthogonality among independent variables inflates standard errors. The VIFs range from 1.07 to 2.05, well below the cut-off value of 10 recommended by Neter, Wasserman and Kutner (1985), meaning that the independent variables are not correlated with each other. Therefore, there are no substantial multicollinearity problems encountered in this study.

The results of OLS regression analysis of the relationships among organizational learning capability, organizational commitment, and organizational effectiveness are shown in Table 3. For the aspects of organizational learning, only openness and experimentation, and knowledge transfer and integration play significant roles in determining organizational commitment. Openness and experimentation has a significant positive relationship with organizational commitment ([b.sub.3] = 0.32, p < 0.01). Similar to Goh and Richards (1997), firms definitely favor openness and experimentation to search for new, innovative, and flexible solutions to current and future conditions and problems based on the possible uses of different methods and procedures. They are likely to implement this strategy for enhancing organizational commitment. Thus, Hypothesis 3a is supported that accounting firms with stronger openness and experimentation potentially achieve greater organizational commitment.

Knowledge transfer and integration has an important positive association with organizational commitment (b4 = 0.20, p < 0.09). In the existing literature, firms internally spread knowledge through the verbal and non-verbal communications, including formal and informal conversations, dialogue, debate, and interaction among individuals, and effectively exploit knowledge through the information systems that aid in the accuracy, reproducibility, and availability of the information (Akgun, Keskin, Byrne, and Aren, 2007). Then, knowledge transfer and integration definitely helps achieve firms' organizational commitment. Thus, Hypothesis 4a is supported that accounting firms with stronger knowledge transfer and integration potentially achieve greater organizational commitment.

Surprisingly, managerial commitment and systems perspective have no relationships with organizational commitment respectively ([b.sub.1] = 0.08, p < 0.50; b2 = 0.12, p < 0.25). For the existing literature, firms develop and facilitate managerial support and leadership commitment for the innovation process and employee motivation in creating and building knowledge in an organization (Akgun, Keskin, Byrne, and Aren, 2007). Also, firms bring organizational members together around a common identity and a shared vision, interconnect the activities of employees, including the promotions of joint actions, and develop relationships based on the exchange of information and shared mental models (Akgun, Keskin, Byrne, and Aren, 2007). However, both managerial commitment and systems perspective here may not be able to enhance firms' organizational commitment because openness and experimentation, and knowledge transfer and integration are more important than other dimensions in determining organizational commitment. Thus, Hypotheses 1a and 2a are not supported that accounting firms with stronger managerial commitment and systems perspective do not achieve organizational commitment.

For the organizational learning capability-organizational effectiveness relationships, only managerial commitment has a significant direct impact on organizational effectiveness ([b.sub.8] = 0.28, p < 0.04). Firms' executives are important players in fostering a learning climate through their behaviors, including seeking feedback, being open to criticisms, and admitting mistakes, and empowering their employees to make decisions and take some risks (Goh and Richards, 1997). Thus, Hypothesis 1b is supported that accounting firms with stronger managerial commitment potentially achieve greater organizational effectiveness.

Systems perspective, openness and experimentation, and knowledge transfer and integration have no relationships with organizational effectiveness respectively ([b.sub.9] = 0.08, p < 0.50; [b.sub.10] = -0.05, p < 0.69; [b.sub.11] = -0.02, p < 0.87). According to the existing literature, firms with greater systems perspective, openness and experimentation, and knowledge transfer and integration tend to exploit them as a true source of increased organizational effectiveness and sustainable competitive advantage (Akgun, Keskin, Byrne, and Aren, 2007). To explain the results of the study, systems perspective, openness and experimentation, and knowledge transfer and integration, however, may need to have a mediator that helps link to organizational effectiveness distinctively. Thus, Hypotheses 2b, 3b, and 4b are not. supported

Table 4 shows the results of OLS regression analysis of the organizational commitment-organizational effectiveness relationships. Organizational commitment has a significant positive influence on organizational effectiveness (b15 = 0.31, p < 0.01). Organizational commitment presents a strong belief in, and acceptance of, the organization's goals and values; a willingness to exert considerable effort on behalf of the organization; and a strong desire to maintain membership in the organization (Paulin, Ferguson, and Bergeron, 2006). Firms with greater organizational commitment definitely occur to have better organizational effectiveness. Thus, Hypothesis 5 is supported that accounting firms with higher degree of organizational commitment potentially promote greater organizational effectiveness.

5. CONTRIBUTIONS AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS FOR RESEARCH

5.1 Theoretical Contributions and Future Directions for Research

This study is intended to provide a clearer understanding of organizational learning capability that has a significant relationship with firms' needing to sustain competitive advantage and enhance competitiveness. The study provides important theoretical contributions expanding on previous knowledge and literature of organizational learning capability, organizational commitment, and organizational effectiveness. For advancing the field theoretically, this work is one of the first known studies to directly link organizational learning capability to organizational effectiveness through a mediating effect of organizational commitment in accounting firms of Thailand. This study attempts to integrate the key components of organizational learning capability in the same model. In addition, this study investigates the importance of organizational learning capability relative to organizational commitment and organizational effectiveness of accounting firms in Thailand. According to the results of this study, the need for further research is apparent. Because this study finds that both managerial commitment and systems perspective have no significant effects on organizational commitment, and systems perspective, openness and experimentation, and knowledge transfer and integration also have no relationships with organizational effectiveness, future research is needed to conceptualize the measurement of organizational learning capability, organizational commitment, and organizational effectiveness. While the importance of organizational learning capability still exists, this study finds that organizational learning capability can not directly influence export performance. Future research is needed to collect data from a larger population and/or a comparative population in order to increase the level of reliable results. Additionally, organizational commitment is definitely a mediating effect of the relationships. Future research is needed to prove the roles of organizational commitment in the relationship model.

5.2 Managerial Contributions

Other implications now exist for firm owners, executives, and managers. This study helps managers identify and justify key components that may be more critical in a rigorously competitive market. Managers should effectively manage and utilize the components of organizational learning capability, including managerial commitment, systems perspective, openness and experimentation, and knowledge transfer and integration, to sustain and succeed. These managers may put more emphasis on organizational learning capability than on other variations. In the interest of organizational learning capability, managers can implement managerial commitment, openness and experimentation, and knowledge transfer and integration within the organization, but they should also plan to expand their other strategies to include or graduate to an advanced business operation in order to continuously maintain and increase the levels of business excellence, competitive advantage, and competitiveness. To maximize the benefits of organizational learning capability, managers should provide other resources to support its effectiveness and create new opportunities in the global market.

6. CONCLUSION

This study attempts to determine whether organizational learning capability has relevant significance. It also looks at whether organizational learning capability influences organizational effectiveness, and which component is more integral for accounting firms in Thailand to gain organizational commitment and enhance organizational effectiveness. In this study, organizational learning capability has a greater significance. Organizational commitment is hypothesized to mediate the organizational learning capability-organizational effectiveness relationships. Interestingly, only openness and experimentation, and knowledge transfer and integration have significant positive effects on accounting firms' organizational commitment. Also, managerial commitment has an important positive association with organizational effectiveness. Likewise, organizational commitment positively appears to enhance organizational effectiveness. With the results of the study, organizational commitment is definitely a mediator of the organizational learning capability-organizational effectiveness relationships. As growth and sustainability necessitate an increased excellent operation, research analyzing this methodology will contribute significantly toward understanding how accounting firms in Thailand utilize their organizational learning capability to promote organizational commitment, improve business effectiveness and operations, gain competitive advantage, and achieve high competitiveness.

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PhaprukeUssahawanitchakit, Mahasarakham University, THAILAND

Dr. PhaprukeUssahawanitchakit earned his Ph.D. at Washington State University in 2002. Currently he is an assistant professor of accounting, a deputy dean of academic affairs, and a director of graduate studies at Faculty of Accountancy and Management, Mahasarakham University, Thailand.

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