From Mentoring to Individual Absorptive Capacity: The Gradual Release of Responsibility Model


  • Hugh Cannon Wayne State University (emeritus)
  • Ken Long Army Command and General Staff College


Individual absorptive capacity (IAC) addresses the ability of an individual to recognize and classify problem situations, to determine the kind of knowledge and skill she needs to address them, to quickly absorb the relevant knowledge and skills, and to adapt them as necessary to address the problem. This paper integrates two separate streams of IAC-related research. The first addresses a series of conceptual papers that grapple with the IAC concept from the perspective of service-dominant logic, from Marketing, discussing the process by which different kinds of operant resources provided by an educational institution interact with operand resources provided by the students to stimulate the development of IAC. The second stream addresses specific techniques developed and tested by the United States Military to develop IAC among military commanders. The resulting integration is encompassed in a curriculum model (Gradual Release of Responsibility Model, or GRR) that is readily adapted to business school applications.