Firms operating in contemporary hypercompetitive environments have to seek series of temporary advantages, sometimes requiring them to move beyond their current knowledge domains. The existing knowledge‐ and capability‐based views have certain shortcomings in terms of explaining firm competitiveness in such situations. In order to narrow this gap, this study aims to put forward a “knowledge‐based perspective on non‐routine change” to explain how firms can generate innovative processes and outcomes that are disconnected from their current knowledge and capability base.
The study is a conceptual theory‐development paper, which is based on the recent knowledge‐based and capability approaches, and on other relevant literature related to non‐routine change in organizations.
Non‐routine change is defined here as a process and an outcome that is disconnected from the firm's current knowledge and capability base. The process involves the detachment from the firm's current knowledge and capability base, the identification of certain types of disconnected knowledge (slack, unrelated, unused, or unknown), and the leverage and combination of such knowledge in the search for novel, non‐routine change outcomes.
The novelty of this paper lies in its view on firm‐level competitiveness in situations in which the existing knowledge and capability bases are of little value. The study proposes a categorization that explains what types of disconnected knowledge assets are particularly useful in such a process, and identifies where they are likely to be located. Thus, the study provides new insights into the management of knowledge related to non‐routine change in organizations.
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