Edited by Ard-Pieter de Man
Networks, knowledge and innovation are the triumvirate of modern business. Innovation is the basis for competitive advantage. It requires the build-up of and access to knowledge. Networks are able to deliver that knowledge. Hence, just as the divisional form was the organizational structure of the industrial economy, networks are the organizational structure of the knowledge economy. This in short appears to be the reasoning behind most recent thinking on management. But if this is true, how can companies ensure knowledge ﬂows through networks in such a way that it beneﬁts their competitive strength? This question formed the point of departure for this book. Research in this area is abundant. Dozens of papers have been and continue to be published in the academic journals. However, if a manager were to read these papers in order to ﬁnd an answer to the question concerning how he should manage knowledge ﬂows in networks, he would not ﬁnd many answers there. The literature has mainly focused on interesting, but abstract theory. Few case studies exist that shed light on knowledge management in networks from a managerial perspective. One paper, coauthored by Dyer and Nobeoka, was an exception and that paper was an important source of inspiration for this project. The authors’ approach involved an in-depth case study, showing what mechanisms Toyota’s management used to get knowledge ﬂowing in the supplier network of this Japanese car manufacturer. To replicate and extend Dyer and Nobeoka’s ﬁndings, a research team was assembled, consisting of researchers with...