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Article
Publication date: 7 April 2015

Markus Manhart and Stefan Thalmann

The purpose of this paper is to investigate pertinent knowledge protection literature. At the same time, however, knowledge protection is often a neglected or…

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3364

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate pertinent knowledge protection literature. At the same time, however, knowledge protection is often a neglected or underdeveloped area. This is all the more concerning as knowledge protection plays an essential part in preserving an organization’s competitive advantage. Despite the recognition of this issue by scholars, the knowledge management literature has so far tended to concentrate on the facilitation of knowledge sharing rather than on knowledge protection.

Design/methodology/approach

In this paper, the authors present the results of a structured literature review undertaken to investigate the current state of research on knowledge protection. The paper identifies core domains in knowledge protection literature, discusses theoretical perspectives and research methods, sheds light on the role of the information technology (IT) artefact in knowledge protection research and develops a portfolio of knowledge protection measures.

Findings

In this paper, 48 papers were analyzed by taking five analytical dimensions into account: research domains, research methods and models, the role of the IT artefact, theoretical views and measures to enforce knowledge protection. Based on the discussion of the results, promising avenues for further research were identified and a research agenda was proposed. The authors argued for more research on the protection of tacit knowledge, more in-depth empirical investigations, more research on IT support and a stronger consideration of theories in knowledge protection research, as well as research on how organizations could build a strategy of knowledge protection.

Research limitations/implications

Tacit knowledge, as well as informal alliances or (social) networks, is under-researched so far. Knowledge protection phenomena need to be investigated in depth to test the assumptions stated in many conceptual papers. IT artefacts should be developed and evaluated. More theory-based research and overarching frameworks or strategies for knowledge protection need to be developed.

Practical implications

In this paper, a portfolio of knowledge protection measures was developed, which might be of particular interest for practitioners. Further, the paper provides a good overview of the current state of practice regarding knowledge protection.

Originality/value

So far, there is no structured literature available focussing on the topic of knowledge protection.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 19 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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Article
Publication date: 2 August 2011

Pia Hurmelinna‐Laukkanen

Collaboration for research and development (R&D) and innovation among various organizations can be beneficial and in some cases even imperative, but in order to realise…

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3903

Abstract

Purpose

Collaboration for research and development (R&D) and innovation among various organizations can be beneficial and in some cases even imperative, but in order to realise the potential, effective management is required. Effective innovation requires firms to share their core knowledge, and simultaneously make sure that they will not lose their core knowledge and future competitive advantage. In line with this, this study aims to clarify the role of knowledge protection in relation to collaborative innovation endeavours.

Design/methodology/approach

This study approaches the knowledge protection and knowledge sharing issues through a literature review and subsequent empirical analysis of 242 Finnish companies.

Findings

The results indicate that when a firm has put effort in getting strong protection at its disposal, sharing knowledge with varying partners is more likely, which, in turn, improves innovation performance of the firm. It is not just about the strength of protection, but also – and even more importantly – using it efficiently that counts.

Research limitations/implications

The data are collected from one country only, with its specific features, and thus further research might reveal more on the studied phenomenon. Also utilising more detailed measures might reveal more.

Practical implications

This study augments both theoretical and managerial perspectives as it discusses a variety of protection mechanisms. In particular, it offers managers a new way of approaching the means of knowledge protection for innovation‐related collaboration.

Originality/value

This study shows that a wide range of knowledge protection mechanisms can be relied on, and that strategic use of these mechanisms improves knowledge sharing and innovation performance.

Details

European Journal of Innovation Management, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1460-1060

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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2017

Junyeong Lee, Jinyoung Min and Heeseok Lee

As teams are built around specialized and different knowledge, they need to regulate their knowledge boundaries to exchange their specialized knowledge with other teams…

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1296

Abstract

Purpose

As teams are built around specialized and different knowledge, they need to regulate their knowledge boundaries to exchange their specialized knowledge with other teams and to protect the value of such specialized knowledge. However, prior studies focus primarily on boundary spanning and imply that boundaries are obstacles to sharing knowledge. To fill this research gap, this study aims to indicate the importance of knowledge protection regulation, an activity that sets an adequate boundary for protecting knowledge, and investigate the factors that facilitate knowledge protection regulation and its consequences.

Design/methodology/approach

This study collected empirical data from 196 teams in seven organizations. Through a validation of the measurement model, data from 138 teams are used for further analysis. The hypotheses effects are assessed using a structural equation model.

Findings

The analysis results indicate that both task uncertainty and task interdependency enhance knowledge protection regulation in teams, and that information technology support moderates the relationship between task uncertainty and knowledge protection regulation. The results also indicate that knowledge protection regulation improves inter-team coordination and team performance.

Originality/value

This study focuses on knowledge protection regulation by adopting communication privacy management theory at the team level. The findings imply that boundary management is the process of communication and depends on the role the teams play in accomplishing their tasks. The findings also provide a new way to understand knowledge flow of the teams as well as the entire organization.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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Article
Publication date: 24 July 2020

Rene Kaiser, Stefan Thalmann and Viktoria Pammer-Schindler

This paper aims to report an interview study investigating knowledge protection practices in a collaborative research and innovation project centred around the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to report an interview study investigating knowledge protection practices in a collaborative research and innovation project centred around the semi-conductor industry. The authors explore which and how knowledge protection practices are applied and zoom in on a particular one to investigate the perspective of three stakeholders which collaborate: the SUPPLIER of a specialised machine, the APPLIER of this machine and a SCHOLAR who collaborates with both, in an effort to develop a grey-box model of the machine and its operation.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 33 interviews have been conducted in two rounds: 30 interviews explore knowledge protection practices applied across a large project. Qualitative content analysis is applied to determine practices not well covered by the research community. A total of three follow-up interviews inspect one specific collaboration case of three partners. Quotes from all interviews are used to illustrate the participants’ viewpoints and motivation.

Findings

SCHOLAR and APPLIER communicate using a data-centric knowledge protection practice, in that concrete parameter values are sensitive and hidden by communicating data within a wider parameter range. This practice balances the benefit that all three stakeholders have from communicating about specifics of machine design and operations. The grey-box model combines engineering knowledge of both SUPPLIER and APPLIER.

Practical implications

The line of thought described in this study is applicable to comparable collaboration constellations of a SUPPLIER of a machine, an APPLIER of a machine and a SCHOLAR who analyses and draws insights out of data.

Originality/value

The paper fills a research gap by reporting on applied knowledge protection practices and characterising a data-centric knowledge protection practice around a grey-box model.

Details

VINE Journal of Information and Knowledge Management Systems, vol. 51 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-5891

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Article
Publication date: 11 March 2014

Heidi Olander, Mika Vanhala and Pia Hurmelinna-Laukkanen

Prior research has confirmed the usefulness of both formal and informal protection mechanisms for governing knowledge flows. However, there is lack of research on the…

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1105

Abstract

Purpose

Prior research has confirmed the usefulness of both formal and informal protection mechanisms for governing knowledge flows. However, there is lack of research on the motivation and needs driving firms in their choice of mechanisms for each situation. The aim of this paper is to examine the reasons for choosing formal or informal mechanisms.

Design/methodology/approach

The hypotheses were tested on a sample of 209 companies engaged in R&D. A Partial Least Squares was used for the analyses.

Findings

This study identifies statistically significant relationships between the protection need and the firm's strategy. The results indicate that there is variance in the use of mechanisms when there is a specific motivation for seeking protection, and when the firm faces difficulties related to protection issues.

Research limitations/implications

The data were gathered in a single country. The results may be different if practices in a culture based more on informal relations, with less efficient patent system, were investigated.

Practical implications

The study provides managers with useful information on the informal protection of knowledge and innovations when resources are limited. In particular, it helps them to identify situations in which informal mechanisms are potentially more useful.

Originality/value

This study adds to the literature by studying quantitatively the relationship between the recognised need for protection and the choice of formal and/or informal protection as a strategy. It combines both formal and informal mechanisms. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is one of the few studies examining HRM-related protection mechanisms.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 52 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article
Publication date: 4 February 2014

Martin Campbell

The purpose of this paper is to measure nurses’ knowledge about Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 before and after a one-day training course using…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to measure nurses’ knowledge about Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 before and after a one-day training course using participants’ favoured methods of training activities.

Design/methodology/approach

A repeated measures design was used to evaluate the impact of a one-day Adult Support and Protection training on pre-training knowledge of community nurses across one NHS area. Participants’ favoured methods of training activities were used in the training. Participants were community nurses working in learning disability, mental health, older people's services, acute services, substance misuse, and accident and emergency. All completed a training needs analysis and training preferences study. Individual and group scores on an Adult Support and Protection knowledge questionnaire were analysed pre- and post-training.

Findings

There was a statistically significant increase in scores post-training (Wilcoxon's signed-ranks test). Individual increases ranged from 2.5 to 27.5 per cent, with a mean score of 15 per cent. Evaluation of the impact of nationally approved Adult Support and Protection training is needed and training should take account of participants’ existing knowledge and preferred methods of training delivery to improve the transfer of learning into practice.

Research limitations/implications

Participants were self-selecting. Existing knowledge was not controlled for in the sample. No longitudinal follow up to measure retention of any improvements in knowledge. No control group. Training methods used were based on the expressed preferences of 40 nursing staff, but only 18 of these staff participated in the training day.

Originality/value

There is a dearth of research in evaluating the impact of the adult protection training on staff knowledge and understanding. Designing training activities and content to take account of participant preferences, and areas where knowledge is weakest may enhance the effectiveness of training in this area. This research was funded as a Queens Nursing Institute Community Project. It builds on a pilot project

Details

The Journal of Adult Protection, vol. 16 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1466-8203

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Article
Publication date: 3 October 2016

Heidi Olander, Mika Vanhala, Pia Hurmelinna-Laukkanen and Kirsimarja Blomqvist

The purpose of this paper is to study how the motivation in firms to safeguard the prerequisites of innovation relates to the strength of the employee-related protection

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2066

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study how the motivation in firms to safeguard the prerequisites of innovation relates to the strength of the employee-related protection mechanisms that deal with knowledge leaking and knowledge leaving, and the moderating effect of organizational trust in the relationship.

Design/methodology/approach

The hypotheses were tested on a sample collected in Finland from 80 companies engaged in R&D. A partial least squares was used for the analyses.

Findings

Knowledge leaking and leaving from a firm can be approached with both formalized and soft types of employee-related mechanisms; that the motivation to secure innovativeness positively relates to both forms; and that the presence of organizational trust is especially effective in reinforcing employee-related practices that can prevent knowledge leaving.

Research limitations/implications

The data were gathered in a single western European country and that may have affected the results.

Practical implications

The managers would do well to introduce both formalized and soft forms of protection so as to mitigate the effects of knowledge both leaving and leaking. Building on the findings of this study, managers could prioritize between the different categories and mechanisms depending on the market and industry they operate in.

Originality/value

This study adds to the literature by studying quantitatively the employee-related protection mechanisms and the effect of organizational trust in the usage of those mechanisms.

Details

Baltic Journal of Management, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5265

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Article
Publication date: 26 March 2021

Adnan Alghail, Mohammed Abbas and Liu Yao

Knowledge protection (KP) is one of the main knowledge management (KM) processes that aim to protect the organization’s knowledge from any inside and outside force…

Abstract

Purpose

Knowledge protection (KP) is one of the main knowledge management (KM) processes that aim to protect the organization’s knowledge from any inside and outside force leakage. In higher education institutions (HEIs), KP is rarely being discussed and covered in contrast to knowledge sharing (KS) in terms of its determinants. The purpose of this paper is to provide a deep analysis of previous research articles from 1980 to 2019 and examine the associated institutional factors on KP determinants within HEIs as a research objective.

Design/methodology/approach

The preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analysis was a well-established approach for analyzing the systematic literature review methodology. Several articles were published over the past decades collected from 5 different databases, but after the screening, 101 articles were reviewed and only 22 articles were relevant to the research objective.

Findings

The findings indicated that KP is under academic research topic in KM and has received minimal attention in HEIs compared to KS, which has been frequently studied in HEIs. The literature categorized KP determinants into four areas: technological, organizational structure, behavioral and ethics and organizational culture. It will open the door for academics to investigate further into the factors, theories and models of KP in general and HEIs from a particular perspective.

Practical implications

As evident from the paper finds, with few pieces of literature covered in this topic, HEIs have to protect the knowledge from any illegal usage or any expert’s knowledge loss after leaving the institutions. This study can help university leaders to understand how the different KP determinants can maximize KP without affecting the KS and develop the KP phenomenon for a strategic fit to enhance their institutions’ safe knowledge usage.

Originality/value

This is the first research of its type which has extensively examined the literature on KP related to HEIs. Also, this paper provides theoretical and practical insights through understanding the determinants that affect KP practices among academic staff.

Details

VINE Journal of Information and Knowledge Management Systems, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-5891

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Article
Publication date: 12 April 2013

Ettore Bolisani, Marco Paiola and Enrico Scarso

The purpose of this paper is to examine the issue of knowledge protection in knowledge‐intensive business services (KIBS). In particular, it addresses four research…

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1521

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the issue of knowledge protection in knowledge‐intensive business services (KIBS). In particular, it addresses four research questions: do KIBS firms perceive the necessity to protect their knowledge? If so, do they protect it? What method (or combinations of methods) they typically use? What are the main factors affecting the approaches to knowledge protection adopted by these companies?

Design/methodology/approach

The paper illustrates and discusses the findings of a survey of 471 KIBS companies located in the Northeast of Italy and operating in three different sectors: IT Services, Design and Communication, Professional Services.

Findings

The study classifies the types of knowledge protection mechanisms and investigates similarities and differences in knowledge protection between KIBS operating in distinct sectors, having different size, and pursuing different knowledge management strategies.

Practical implications

The outcomes of the investigation can have some important implications from a managerial viewpoint. In particular, the study provides food for though to both CEOs of KIBS companies regarding the mechanisms of knowledge protection, and to policy makers about the possible public policies that may help companies to protect their competitive knowledge capital without hindering their networks of interaction.

Originality/value

The issue of knowledge protection is relatively new in the literature of KIBS, and findings are quite controversial. In particular, the state‐of‐the‐art research shows that there are some important gaps that the paper tries to fill.

Details

Journal of Intellectual Capital, vol. 14 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1469-1930

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Article
Publication date: 25 January 2011

Marcel Bogers

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the paradox that arises when firms simultaneously share and protect their knowledge in an alliance with other organizations…

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10614

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the paradox that arises when firms simultaneously share and protect their knowledge in an alliance with other organizations. The goal of this paper therefore is to explore this tension field in such a coupled open innovation process and to identify which strategies can be developed to cope with this tension.

Design/methodology/approach

The study was initially guided by a literature review and exploratory interviews, and it ultimately develops an inductive framework based on a multiple case study approach. The paper presents eight cases of a focal firm involved in a particular R&D collaboration. The case studies are based on a variety of data sources, including a number of semi‐structured interviews.

Findings

This paper unravels the tension field of knowledge sharing and protection in R&D collaborations, with the knowledge characteristics at the core and with the knowledge embodiment and relational dimension as mediating factors. These forces are in turn influenced by the collaboration characteristics and environment. Moreover, the case studies show different ways to cope with the tension between knowledge sharing and protection, such as an open knowledge exchange strategy and a layered collaboration scheme with inner and outer members. Licensing is moreover presented as a concrete way to implement such coping strategies.

Originality/value

This paper provides an holistic perspective on the knowledge paradox in R&D collaborations as a coupled process of open innovation. Moreover, it describes two concrete strategies to cope with the tension field as well as the role and implications of licensing as a particular mechanism to overcome the open innovation paradox.

Details

European Journal of Innovation Management, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1460-1060

Keywords

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