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Article
Publication date: 25 January 2019

Ferran Vendrell-Herrero, Christian K. Darko and Pervez Ghauri

This study aims to investigate the importance of relational and conditional knowledge by assessing how service and signaling competences affect manufacturing firms…

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667

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the importance of relational and conditional knowledge by assessing how service and signaling competences affect manufacturing firms’ productivity. These relationships are explored in the context of Africa, where, paradoxically, firms selling abroad must satisfy different market demands than firms that serve only domestic markets.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors draw on the World Bank Enterprise Survey to perform a cross-sectional analysis of 4,683 manufacturing firms. These surveys cover the period 2009-2017 and 35 different African countries. The authors define service competence development as co-location with knowledge-intensive business service (KIBS) firms, measured through KIBS density at city level. Signaling is measured through outward-looking competences.

Findings

This paper shows that African exporters differ significantly from their non-exporting counterparts in terms of productivity and competences. External service competence generates productivity gains for exporters but has the opposite effect for non-exporters. Results consistent with previous research also show that signaling competences generate productivity gains, but the effect for firms serving domestic markets is stronger than the effect for exporting firms. The authors use paradoxes of learning to interpret these results.

Research limitations/implications

This study detects nuances of the African context that increase the understanding of knowledge management in emerging markets. The findings would benefit from confirmation in a longitudinal and causal setting.

Practical implications

African exporting firms should establish mechanisms to develop joint knowledge with external partners (know-with) to enhance their competitiveness, whereas African non-exporters should prioritize building knowledge credibility.

Originality/value

The study develops a novel empirical approach to analyzing firm competences in Africa. It also shows that contextualization of existing knowledge management theories matters, opening a research avenue to test further existing theories in emerging economies.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 24 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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Article
Publication date: 9 October 2009

Sonny Nwankwo, Kazem Chaharbaghi and Derick Boyd

The purpose of this paper is to explore different prisms through which sustainable development (SD) is considered and to situate the discourse in African contexts by…

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738

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore different prisms through which sustainable development (SD) is considered and to situate the discourse in African contexts by highlighting the contestations in which the conventional knowledge of SD is embedded as well as an agenda for improving the institutional framework for productive engagement of Africa nations.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on desk research and synthesis drawn from the extant literature.

Findings

The orthodox knowledge of SD reflects axioms that are inextricably liked to the idiosyncrasies of the developed world; framed in opinions, languages and meanings that are poorly communicated to and understood by rural Africa. As a result, many African countries have remained bystanders in this important global discourse.

Practical implications

To engage Africa proactively, a more broadened perspective is required in promoting the global agenda for SD, taking more account of the continent's contextual subjectivities than is presently the case.

Originality/value

The treatment offered indicates a need for more context‐bound education (not prescriptions) that is sufficiently sensitive and respectful of the complex trajectories characterising Africa's development (or lack of it). It is from this knowledge base that a useful SD agenda for the region might emerge.

Details

International Journal of Development Issues, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1446-8956

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Article
Publication date: 21 October 2021

Benjamin P. Dean

Ambidexterity in teams represents powerful dynamic capabilities for innovation and adaptation in rapidly changing environments. This study focused on the emerging concept…

Abstract

Purpose

Ambidexterity in teams represents powerful dynamic capabilities for innovation and adaptation in rapidly changing environments. This study focused on the emerging concept of team ambidexterity. Primary purposes were to consolidate emerging research on ambidexterity within teams and to synthesise antecedent inputs.

Design/methodology/approach

This study applied a systematic content-based review method to collect articles relevant to enabling ambidexterity within teams. The study integrated relevant studies on ambidexterity and on teams and teamwork. It analysed content through theoretical frameworks of ambidexterity and dynamic capabilities.

Findings

Team ambidexterity constitutes a distinct and increasingly important organisational concept beyond just supporting firm-level ambidexterity. Team ambidexterity depends on inputs that can include ambidexterity's multilevel, generic mechanisms and additional team-centric inputs specially characterising teams.

Practical implications

Organisational leaders need insights into the valuable potential of ambidextrous teams that can increase innovation and enable successful adaptation at an operational level for longterm survival and competitive advantage in volatile environments. The study highlights the essential inputs for designing and equipping ambidextrous teams.

Originality/value

Team ambidexterity research is growing, but so far it has mostly addressed team ambidexterity as a microfoundation supporting firm-level ambidexterity. Existing studies have remained mostly disparate and unorganized. This study appears unique in having identified and synthesised studies most relevant to developing ambidexterity within teams. The study articulated a more comprehensive understanding of team ambidexterity, derived a novel set of team-centric inputs and analysed ambidexterity as dynamic capabilities at operational unit level.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

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Article
Publication date: 12 June 2020

Taohua Ouyang, Xin Cao, Jun Wang and Sixuan Zhang

In this study, the authors aim to address the following two research questions: (1) How do technology innovation paradoxes manifest themselves in technological changes…

Abstract

Purpose

In this study, the authors aim to address the following two research questions: (1) How do technology innovation paradoxes manifest themselves in technological changes? (2) How do incumbent firms manage technology innovation paradoxes through multi-level organizational ambidexterity? To do so, the authors examine technology innovation in cloud computing, which has taken shape and brought about changes to the information technology industry. Specifically, the authors examine how a traditional software company, China Standard Software Co., Ltd. (CS2C), successfully navigated the technological transition to cloud computing from its existing operating systems business by managing innovation paradoxes through multi-level ambidexterity capabilities.

Design/methodology/approach

This study examines a single exploratory case and conducts an in-depth analysis of how technology innovation paradoxes manifest themselves in technological changes and how incumbent firms manage technology innovation paradoxes through multi-level organizational ambidexterity. The data collection and analysis occurred simultaneously through three phases. In Phase 1, one of the authors who had worked at CS2C for many years enabled the authors to obtain access to the company. The data analysis during this phase provided the authors with the history and current situation of CS2C, enabling them to understand the external circumstances, such as particular historical period, and internal conditions, such as cultural and technological changes, that would be relevant throughout the course of their study. It also helped the authors identify organizational ambidexterity capability as the guiding theoretical concept for their research. In Phase 2, the authors engaged in site visits and conducted detailed interviews with employees working at CS2C. In Phase 3, most of the data analysis was conducted. When the interview data were not sufficient to support the theoretical analysis, additional data were collected via phone calls and emails, to assure data-theory-model alignment.

Findings

The authors’ findings show that technology innovation paradoxes manifest themselves as contradictory relationships and mutual support relationships between exploitative and exploratory innovation. In addition, the authors identify three integration mechanisms as key to multi-level organizational ambidexterity capabilities in managing technology innovation paradoxes in technological changes.

Originality/value

Three important theoretical implications can be drawn from our case analysis. First, this research contributes to the knowledge of innovation paradoxes during technological changes. Second, this research provides a model of multi-level organizational ambidexterity capability in technological changes. Third, this research proposes three integration mechanisms driven by three types of ambidexterity capability at different organizational levels.

Details

Internet Research, vol. 30 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1066-2243

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 12 August 2020

Henrik Pålsson and Erik Sandberg

Grounded in paradox theory, and with the objective of structuring and extending existing knowledge of conflicts of interest (e.g. trade-offs) in packaging logistics, the…

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2183

Abstract

Purpose

Grounded in paradox theory, and with the objective of structuring and extending existing knowledge of conflicts of interest (e.g. trade-offs) in packaging logistics, the purpose of this paper is to identify categories of paradoxical tensions in packaging systems used in supply chains, and to develop a conceptual framework that describes these categories.

Design/methodology/approach

This research uses a theory building approach. It develops a conceptual framework of paradoxical tensions for packed products in supply chains. It revises and extends current knowledge in this domain by applying paradox theory from organisational research.

Findings

The paper develops a generic, conceptual framework that identifies, categorises and describes packed product paradoxes on two system levels: supply chain and company levels. The categories of paradoxes refer to performing, organising, belonging and learning.

Research limitations/implications

The framework provides a new theoretical explanation of conflicts of interest in packaging logistics in terms of paradoxical tensions related to packed products in supply chains. It structures and increases general understanding of such tensions within and between actors in a supply chain. The paper also discusses differences in terminology between tensions which are possible to settle and those which lead to paradoxes.

Practical implications

The framework provides a structure for analysing the organisational impact of strategic packaging decisions. It can help highlight different stakeholders' organisational constraints related to packaging.

Originality/value

The framework's systematic categorisation of four types of paradoxical tensions, with thorough descriptions of the meaning of packed product paradoxes of each type, offers an expanded and in-depth explanation of the organisational impacts of packed products in supply chains.

Details

The International Journal of Logistics Management, vol. 31 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-4093

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Book part
Publication date: 6 November 2015

Linda Höglund, Mikael Holmgren Caicedo and Maria Mårtensson

Taking a micro-perspective of governance that includes problem-solving and stakeholder involvement capabilities as part of the strategic steering role, we wish to…

Abstract

Purpose

Taking a micro-perspective of governance that includes problem-solving and stakeholder involvement capabilities as part of the strategic steering role, we wish to contribute to the understanding of the human side of governance. Thus we have studied the relationships between the board and its management and stakeholders, and in so doing we recognize internal and external actors as well as the board itself, and how they all contribute to the implementation of the governance function.

Methodology/approach

Based on an interpretative approach that focuses on change over time, we performed a qualitative empirical study of the governance of Robotdalen, a small non-profit public organization in Sweden that is a joint public and private collaboration. This chapter forms part of a longitudinal study that has been carried out since 2009. It is based primarily on interviews with board members, management and other stakeholders, and complemented by document studies and observations.

Findings

Governance practice entails multiple and multilevel tasks, and the tensions between representativeness/professional boards, conformance/performance, and controlling/partnering up with management, are prevalent in both small non-profit and public organizations. According to our results the apparent choice between the extremes of each tension is, however, not a choice at all but rather a balancing act. In trying to balance tensions through collaboration between managers, board, financiers, and the hosting university, new governance structures and practices emerge at the organizational level.

Originality/value

By following the process of the emergence of a new board, we illustrate how various actors work together to co-produce governance functions in practice. In the past little or no effort has been made to take into account contextual factors such as organizational size – an aspect that may influence or shape board characteristics and work methodology. We therefore attempt to do so in our chapter, by studying the emergence of a new board in a small public organization, what possible paradoxes and tensions are involved in such work, and how such tensions are managed.

Details

Contingency, Behavioural and Evolutionary Perspectives on Public and Nonprofit Governance
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-429-4

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Book part
Publication date: 8 July 2021

Joshua Keller and Ping Tian

The way organizational actors use language to think about and communicate their organizational experiences is central to how organizational actors enact organizational…

Abstract

The way organizational actors use language to think about and communicate their organizational experiences is central to how organizational actors enact organizational paradox. However, most inquiries into the role of language in the organizational paradox literature has focused on specific components of language (e.g., discourse), without attention to the complex, multi-level linguistic system that is interconnected to organizational processes. In this chapter, we expand our knowledge of the role of language by integrating paradox research with research from the linguistics discipline. We identify a series of linguistic tensions (i.e., generalizability-specificity, universalism-particularism, and explicitness-implicitness) that are nested within organizational paradoxes. In the process, we reveal how the organizing paradox of control and autonomy is interconnected to other paradoxes (i.e., performing, learning, and belonging) through the instantiation of linguistic paradoxes. We discuss the implications of our findings for research on paradox and language.

Details

Interdisciplinary Dialogues on Organizational Paradox: Investigating Social Structures and Human Expression, Part B
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80117-187-8

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Book part
Publication date: 8 July 2021

Eric Knight and Tobias Hahn

Organizational paradoxes must first be recognized by managers before they can respond to them. Yet scholars have adopted different perspectives on how paradoxical tensions…

Abstract

Organizational paradoxes must first be recognized by managers before they can respond to them. Yet scholars have adopted different perspectives on how paradoxical tensions become salient and engender management responses. Some approaches have focused on the socially constituted nature of paradoxes, and others on the inherent aspects of paradoxes in the environment. The authors propose an approach that gives ontological meaning to both the socially constituted and inherent nature of organizational paradoxes. Our approach, which is inspired by quantum physics, opens up new opportunities for engaging with the socio-materiality of paradoxes, how they are measured, and the implications this has on the probabilities of managing organizational responses to paradox.

Details

Interdisciplinary Dialogues on Organizational Paradox: Learning from Belief and Science, Part A
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80117-184-7

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Article
Publication date: 16 January 2020

Florence Nansubuga and John C. Munene

The knowledge management (KM) models in the African organisations are influenced by the interplay between human agents from diverse societies whose experiences, values…

Abstract

Purpose

The knowledge management (KM) models in the African organisations are influenced by the interplay between human agents from diverse societies whose experiences, values, contextual information and insights that are perceived controversial in Africa. The purpose of this paper is to elucidate the indigenous assumptions related to knowledge and its management in Africa and the perceived contradictions in the existing models by adopting the Ubuntu philosophy.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors used a perspective lens to examine the existing management practices and propose an integrated framework that is appropriate for the utilisation of the Ubuntu epistemic knowledge management practices and at the same time provide highlights on the perceived paradoxes and how they can be managed to improve knowledge management and people management in African societies.

Findings

The inductive posteriori knowledge approach is perceived to be dynamic, applicable and more desirable in the African societies as it allows organisational managers and their work teams to embrace knowledge construction, dependent on experiences in form of stories and metaphors that demonstrate successful work samples. The Ubuntu dramaturgical knowledge management approach adds value to the posteriori knowledge by refining the rhetoric stories and metaphors into empirical performance scripts that are tailored to the audiences’ expectations.

Research limitations/implications

The paper adapted a perspective view to explain knowledge management; therefore, it was not possible to provide empirical data on the metaphysical and dramaturgical elements that are assumed to influence knowledge management in Africa. However, based on theoretical analysis, the authors have proposed a coherent knowledge management framework based on the interaction between posteriori KM assumptions and Ubuntu dramaturgy.

Practical implications

Ubuntu ideology has been appreciated since it treasures interdependency and interconnectedness among people. Therefore, collaborating partners working in Africa would be expected to act as interdependent agents, whereby this interdependency is perceived as an integral part of the knowledge management process. The proposed Ubuntu knowledge management model is grounded on the posteriori knowledge approach which assumes that experience is the source of knowledge. Through social interactions and experiences sharing, organisational members can create new processes, innovative technologies and dynamic context based performance scripts that can drive productivity.

Social implications

The authors concluded that a coherent framework that is tailored to social interactions and contextual needs of the people and their communities can promote productive knowledge and knowledge management systems in the African contexts. Moreover knowledge management requires one to acknowledge the complexity of Ubuntu ideology in a sense that it recognises the past experiences and contributions of the diverse individuals in the same community/organisation.

Originality/value

This paper focused on examining how the Ubuntu philosophy can promote knowledge development and management strategies that are tailored to social and contextual needs of the organisations in Africa to curtail the perceived paradoxes in the existing knowledge management models.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 24 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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Article
Publication date: 13 June 2020

David B. Zoogah, Emanuel Gomes and Miguel Pina Cunha

There is a growing desire for more scientific and technical knowledge regarding Africa. This is because Africa has the potential and opportunity to generate impactful…

Abstract

Purpose

There is a growing desire for more scientific and technical knowledge regarding Africa. This is because Africa has the potential and opportunity to generate impactful research. However, this potential is not optimized because of several constraints, including the lack of systematic reviews and models of knowledge management and paradoxical trends in Africa. The purpose of this paper is to review studies on knowledge management and associated paradoxes in Africa and a paradox-conscious African knowledge management model. The autochthonous African model that the authors propose has implications for global knowledge management.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors review studies on knowledge management and paradoxes on Africa.

Findings

The authors propose a model and identify 12 paradoxes broadly categorized as industrial, political and social.

Practical implications

The paradoxical tensions characteristic of Africa may be considered integral to business and policy rather than local expressions to be solved through international “best practice.”

Originality/value

The model this paper propose enables theoretical and empirical studies of knowledge management sensitive to the paradoxical tensions associated with autochthonous management knowledge and autochthonous knowledge management.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 24 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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