شبکه بسته در مزیت رقابتی شرکت: نقش واسطه ها در فرایندهای دانش
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|549||2011||21 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, Volume 28, Issues 1–2, March–June 2011, Pages 2–22
This study draws on the knowledge management and social network disciplines to examine the effect of network closure on organizations’ competitive advantage. We hypothesize that the level of network closure affects an organization's capability of knowledge identification, knowledge transfer, knowledge protection and knowledge institutionalization; these capabilities in turn affect an organization's competitive advantage. Thus, we model network closure as indirectly affecting an organization's competitive advantage. A Partial Least Square (PLS) analysis of the survey data of 78 Chinese petrochemical firms shows that network closure can both enhance and decrease an organization's competitive advantage. Network closure enhances an organization's competitive advantage by facilitating knowledge protection and transfer (via institutionalization), but decreases competitive advantage by hindering knowledge identification. Environmental dynamics that the organizations encounter are observed to moderate the effect of network closure. Combining our results with the findings from the literature, we propose that organizations operating in a dynamic environment, where the domain knowledge is in a state of flux, need to place great importance on knowledge identification; such organizations should choose a sparse network that allows them to receive diverse knowledge. In contrast, organizations operating in a stable environment should opt for a dense network to protect their knowledge and facilitate transfer of required knowledge.
Increasingly, organizations have resorted to partnering with external firms to procure the knowledge required to deal with product complexity, to share risks and to realize scale economies (Hamel, 1991). Consequently, organizations, especially small medium enterprises (SMEs), operate in “networks” in order to compete with vertically integrated multinational companies (MNCs). Operating in such a network environment raises the need for management to address the issue of managing the organization's proprietary knowledge. Though researchers such as Nonaka (1991) and Drucker (1993) have recognized that an organization's knowledge is one of its most important rent-generating resources, this view is true only insofar “that a firm can protect its knowledge from appropriation or imitation by its competitors” (Liebeskind, 1996, p. 95). Organizations in a network environment, where the knowledge can potentially be widely dispersed beyond the organizational boundaries, are vulnerable to having their knowledge expropriated by other firms in the network ( Schilling and Steensma, 2001 and Powell et al., 1996); these organizations risk failing to protect and deploy the unique knowledge that sustains their competitive advantage (Barney, 1991). A number of recent studies have examined the difficulties of managing knowledge within a dyadic relationship. Larsson et al. (1998) model a strategic alliance between two partners as a non-cooperative game to show how selfish partners may exploit the alliance. Kale et al. (2000) suggest that an organization balance its need for knowledge with the desire to protect its own knowledge in a dyadic relationship by developing relational capital that supports the appropriate conflict management approaches. Oxley and Sampson (2004) observe that some firms restrict the scope of their alliance activities to protect their core knowledge in dyadic relationships. All these dyadic level studies, however, do not account for attributes of the multiparty network that are important in the knowledge management context. One such attribute is network closure, that is, the extent to which organizations are connected to each other in the network. Brass et al. (2004), in their review of extant research on the antecedents and consequences of networks, discover some studies which find that a high degree of network closure is salient to innovativeness, while other studies view a low degree of network closure as salient. Some light is thrown on the issue by Obstfeld (2005) who observes that a dense network facilitates incremental innovation but not radical innovation. A more detailed study is thus needed to address the question of how network closure affects organizations’ competitive advantage from a knowledge perspective. We address the question by studying a sample of organizations that are part of a network to examine how network closure impacts knowledge identification, transfer, institutionalization and protection and the subsequent effects on their competitive advantage. In this study network closure refers to the degree of inter-connectivity of the focal organizations’ close partners. A network with high closure implies that organizations in the network are well connected with each other. In contrast, a network with low closure means the connectivity among the organizations is low; such a network is known as a sparse network. We focus on the technical relationships between the focal organizations and their partners, as well as the technical relationships among these partners. Our fine-grained analysis revealed the positive as well as the negative effects of network closure on organizations’ competitive advantage. By taking a knowledge perspective, our work sheds light on how organizations may gain knowledge from their partners but at the same time protect their hard-earned knowledge (Sorenson and Wageespack, 2005).
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
We have taken a holistic view in studying the effects of network closure on an organization's competitive advantage in the Chinese petrochemical industry. Network closure affects competitive advantage by exerting a negative effect on knowledge identification and a positive effect on knowledge protection. As a result, the effects may sometimes cancel each other out. Studies in different settings may show network closure to be either a positive or a negative characteristic, depending on whether knowledge identification or knowledge protection is more important. We have also found that even though a closed network facilitates knowledge transfer, the transferred knowledge must be institutionalized in the receiving organization before it can contribute to competitive advantage. The existence of strong social integration mechanisms within the organization is necessary for a successful institutionalization effort. Moreover, we found that the advantage of network closure is contingent upon environmental dynamism. A sparse network facilitates knowledge identification which helps an organization increase the strategic flexibility that is necessary to maintain the ability to respond to fast unexpected changes. Conversely, a closed network facilitates the knowledge transfer and protection that are necessary for organizations to innovate and extract value from their innovations in a stable environment.