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Firm‐internal knowledge integration and the effects on innovation

Anne Koch (Assistant Professor in the Department of Management, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California, USA)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 25 October 2011




Previous literature notes that more remains to be understood about the relationship between organizational knowledge and innovation. In this article the author seeks to argue that innovation depends on efficient knowledge integration, while the latter depends on factors internal and external to product development teams.


This paper proposes a conceptual framework that takes into account firm‐internal knowledge integration of human and technological assets. In particular, the author analyzes and discusses knowledge integration mechanisms which a firm strategically deploys in the innovation process.


Knowledge‐relatedness, the extent to which product development teams are specialized in related scientific or technological fields, is proposed as an important moderator for the relationship between operating routines and innovative performance. If many product development teams perform well, innovative firm performance will increase.

Research limitations/implications

The author notes the need for empirical inquiry which can build on the theoretical model. Other possible moderators, such as the physical proximity of knowledge‐related product development teams and the frequency of knowledge‐related personnel transfer from one product development team to another, would be interesting avenues for further research.

Practical implications

Specifying operating routines with respect to integrating functional and technological knowledge can result in innovative firm performance.


The article adds to the knowledge‐based view of the firm while analyzing how a firm can make use of its heterogeneous knowledge for innovation. The author shows how knowledge‐relatedness moderates the relationship between operating routines for new product development teams and innovative performance.



Koch, A. (2011), "Firm‐internal knowledge integration and the effects on innovation", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 15 No. 6, pp. 984-996.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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