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Organizational network learning A theory and an application Nathan A Paxton Harvard University Dept of Government August 26 2010 Abstract This paper outlines a framework for understanding policy making decisions based upon a combination of organizational learning and social network theories and then applies it to analyzing comparative public policy development responses to HIV AIDS in the developing world First the paper outlines a set of empirical expectations developed through a combination of network analysis and organizational learning theories It describes how structural configurations of organizations influence the process by which these entities obtain process and transmit information in particular organizations or groups of organizations that resemble networks as opposed to hierarchies or markets will institutionally outperform and better adapt to environmental conditions The paper argues that three aspects of networks centralization control and communication affect the mobility and cost of information as well as the ability of actors to process that information The paper then develops the theoretical underpinning for relating these network factors to a well developed research program on organizational learning Second using case studies of how Mexico and Botswana came to define develop and revise their HIV AIDS policy regimes over the last two decades the paper demonstrates that organizational network learning factors can be traced to the policy outcomes observed In particular the degree of network centralization appears particularly 2010 Nathan A Paxton All rights reserved E mail napaxton at fas dot harvard dot edu Prepared for the 103rd Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association Washington DC 2 5 Sept 2010 1 powerful as one explanandum of the relative degrees of success each country has had in addressing its HIV AIDS epidemic Part I A theory of organizational learning vis vis HIV AIDS 1 Introduction The formation of HIV policy presents a

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