The article departs from empirical studies of two competitive firms in an organisationally thin region in Norway. The main question in the article is how these firms have achieved global competitiveness. The article focuses its inquiry on how the firms organise their innovation activity, giving special attention to the firms’ organisational learning and absorptive capacity. It is found that find that workplace learning enables the firms to utilise knowledge in uncommon ways. The learning rests on specific organisational traits in the firms, such as broad participation, long-term on-the-job training, the use of practice-based knowledge in innovation projects, and links to national and global knowledge sources. The characteristics of thin regions indicate that these traits make up a generally applicable strategy in such regions.
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