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Improvisation and Knowledge: The Challenge of Appropriation

Management Research

ISSN: 1536-5433

Article publication date: 1 July 2008



The literature on knowledge management and organizational improvisation have emerged as important perspectives for organizing, while existing almost in parallel. Both have significant implications for, inter alia, innovation and creativity, adaptability, and management in turbulent times. Previous research has considered the role of improvisation in innovation. We build on this literature to examine the specific role of improvisation in knowledge creation. Our assessment of organizational improvisation indicates that it constitutes an important potential source of knowledge, thus opening up a new avenue for exploring the strategic as well as political significance of embedded, situated knowledge. We argue that the rapprochement of the two literatures brings about the notion of “improvisational knowledge”. We develop the significance of this form of knowledge, focusing in particular on the challenges of appreciating and appropriating it as opposed to seeking to codify it. We offer propositions and identify some avenues for further research.



Kamoche, K. and Pina E. Cunha, M. (2008), "Improvisation and Knowledge: The Challenge of Appropriation", Management Research, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 93-106.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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