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Strategy scholars have long argued that breakthrough innovation is generated by recombining knowledge from distant domains. Even if firms have the ability to access and…
Strategy scholars have long argued that breakthrough innovation is generated by recombining knowledge from distant domains. Even if firms have the ability to access and absorb knowledge from distant domains, however, they may fail to pay attention to such knowledge because it is seemingly irrelevant to their tasks. We draw attention to this problem of knowledge relevance and develop a theoretical model to illuminate how ideas from seemingly irrelevant (i.e., peripheral) domains can generate breakthrough innovation through the cognitive process of analogical reasoning, as well as the conditions under which this is more likely to occur. We situate our theoretical model in the context of teams in order to develop insight into the microfoundations of knowledge recombination within firms. Our model reveals paradoxical requirements for teams that help to explain why breakthrough innovation is so difficult.
How is the performance of a knowledge worker affected by the departure of a colleague? While prior research has highlighted the aggregate impact of knowledge worker…
How is the performance of a knowledge worker affected by the departure of a colleague? While prior research has highlighted the aggregate impact of knowledge worker mobility on firms, in this chapter we look inside the firm, to explore the individual-level impact of a coworker's departure on the performance of a remaining employee. We propose that the departure of a coworker can change the remaining employee's access to knowledge, but the implications of such changes will depend on the nature of the coworker's relationship with the employee: the employee's performance will be negatively affected to the extent that the relationship is collaborative, but it will be positively affected to the extent that the relationship is competitive. Moreover, these effects will be magnified to the extent that the employee was dependent on the coworker for knowledge access prior to the move, but weakened to the extent that the relationship persists after the move. Our knowledge-based perspective on coworker departures advances research on employee mobility and knowledge flows by highlighting the variety of changes in knowledge access that may result when a colleague leaves the firm, and illuminating the implications of these changes for the performance of employees who remain behind.
Drawing on sociological role theory, this chapter introduces and explains the distinction between cosmopolitan and local role orientations as status categories in…
Drawing on sociological role theory, this chapter introduces and explains the distinction between cosmopolitan and local role orientations as status categories in international teams. Qualitative data from a multimethod field study conducted at a leading international development agency illustrates that the high status of cosmopolitans and locals in this setting was based on expectations that these team members would enable their teams to more effectively interpret knowledge obtained from outside sources. The possible dynamics of status rivalry and deference in teams with cosmopolitan and local membership are explored, and their implications for team performance are addressed. Thus, status in groups is viewed as both contested and contingent on the situation.
This chapter argues that intra-firm geographic mobility is an understudied mechanism that can help mitigate coordination failures in a geographically distributed…
This chapter argues that intra-firm geographic mobility is an understudied mechanism that can help mitigate coordination failures in a geographically distributed organization. The chapter presents an organizing framework on how intra-firm geographic mobility creates value for firms and discusses how intra-firm geographic mobility can create value for individual workers. The chapter concludes by presenting a future research agenda for intra-firm geographic mobility in light of emerging phenomena such as global collaborative patenting by multinationals, temporary colocation of knowledge workers, and nonstandard work.
– This paper aims to contribute to defining the concepts of boundary spanner, gatekeeper and knowledge broker.
This paper aims to contribute to defining the concepts of boundary spanner, gatekeeper and knowledge broker.
A review of the literature covering more than 100 sources.
A review of past research leads to proposing a set of new definitions and also to the detection of six research avenues.
The ability of organizations to recognize, source and integrate key information or knowledge is important for their strategy, innovation and performance over time. Three types of individuals have information gathering and knowledge dissemination roles at the frontier of organizations and groups: boundary spanners, gatekeepers and knowledge brokers. Although research on these individuals is well-developed, we found that in practice, the definitions of the concepts overlap and still need a clarification. So far, no systematic comparison of these roles has been undertaken.
Knowledge management is shot through with complex questions. This is certainly the case with regard to boundaries, as they constitute both a bounding line that has to be…
Knowledge management is shot through with complex questions. This is certainly the case with regard to boundaries, as they constitute both a bounding line that has to be crossed if the knowledge required for innovation is to be diffused and a form of protection for scientific and technological organisations and institutions. This examination of boundaries leads to a state-of-the-art review that begins with the question of knowledge transfer. The authors start with foundations of the knowledge dynamic within organisations. Nevertheless, certain gaps were identified in the theory, as it did not seem so easy to carry out transfers. This led in turn to attempts to identify the boundaries that were causing difficulties and that had to be crossed. This led to an examination of the role of boundaries. What status could boundaries have when knowledge was expanding enormously within communities? Finally, the authors come face-to-face with knowledge management systems that have tended to redefine the forms that boundaries take.
The paper uses a conceptual approach and is a meta analysis of the state-of-the-art review conducted to introduce the Special Issue “Knowledge Across Boundaries” JKM Volume 19, No. 5, 2015 (October).
The notions of transfer and boundary demonstrated their usefulness in the development of a new theory, namely the knowledge-based view. These concepts were then critiqued, with reference, first, to the contexts in which communication takes place and, second, to the cognitive dimensions of the activity. Finally, studies showed that the cognitive and organisational approaches can be linked and that they shed light on many knowledge-sharing situations. Boundaries are no longer the object of attention, the focus having switched to the collective process of creating new concepts.
This state-of-the-art review is limited to the papers about Management Science.
Knowledge hybridization is possible but must be referred to resources made available by the division of labour between disciplines (Shinn, 1997). Expansive learning (Engeström, 2010) is close to boundary construction (Holford, 2015) to indicate the dialectical view between instituting and instituted society (Castoriadis, 1975, 1987). We are now perhaps at the point of transition between the interest in “boundary spanners” and a new concern with “boundary construction”.
This paper introduces a methodology of knowledge transfer knowledge transfer in firms strategies of learning.
The paper provides the concept (with examples) of ‘boundary construction’.