New Horizons in International Business series
Edited by Sarianna M. Lundan
Chapter 3: Strategic knowledge management: a new research agenda
Bo Bernhard Nielsen INTRODUCTION This chapter aims at identifying a new research agenda for knowledge management as it pertains to strategic alliances by challenging the existing paradigms within strategic management. By outlining the main strategic management perspectives in contemporary business literature and combining them with current knowledge management perspectives, an indication of the evolution of research pertaining to strategic knowledge management emerges. The chapter concludes by offering a new, more dynamic perspective of knowledge management, focusing on the synergies of knowledge-related capabilities in explaining the formation and economic justification of strategic integrative arrangements. ‘Knowledge management’ has become somewhat of a buzzword and the term is used extensively in contemporary business literature. We have experienced a paradigm shift from focusing on understanding and managing physical goods to focusing on corporate intangible assets such as knowledge. Hence, knowledge is recognized as a principal source of economic rent and the effective management of organizational knowledge has increasingly been linked to competitive advantage and thus considered critical to the success of the business firm (Levitt and March, 1988; Nonaka, 1994; Prahalad and Hamel, 1994; Spender and Grant, 1996). Traditionally, however, most management literature focuses on pooling of operational knowledge within companies and assumes knowledge to be firm specific and cumulative (Nelson and Winter, 1982; Dosi, Teece and Winter, 1992; Conner and Prahalad, 1996). This assumption is grounded in a natural tendency to conceptualize knowledge, and the management of knowledge, within the existing theoretical paradigms. Thus, the evolution of theoretical perspectives within strategic management and...
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