The Success Factors of Developing Countries' Transition to a Learning Economy: Evidences from Iran by a Grounded Theory Approach

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Faculty of Management, Imam Ali Officer University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Faculty of Management and Economics, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.


An outstanding feature of the contemporary world is the rapid economic, technological, social, and political changes marked by a high level of uncertainty. For surviving in this complex and constantly changing economy, successful transition to a learning economy is a necessity for developing countries. This research was aimed to investigate the factors which played a role in the developing countries’ successful transition to a learning economy. Furthermore, according to evolutionary economics, countries are path-dependent, i.e. the differences in structures and institutions of an economy give each economic system its specific nature that is illustrated in the particular challenges each country face in its transformation to a learning economy. Hence, based on the pieces of evidence from Iran, this inductive, exploratory, and qualitative research, using a grounded theory approach and a follow-up quantitative analysis based on survey data, led to the development of a model that can be used to analyze the success factors which contribute to this transition. The findings showed that in terms of the ‘paradigm model’, transitional thinking as casual condition, ICT, social capital and macro-economic conditions as intervening conditions, policy institution as central category, government, university and industry interactions, learning firms, collaborative learning, improved research and education system, and regional development as strategies were factors that could lead to a learning economy.