Knowledge Management and Innovation in Networks

Knowledge Management and Innovation in Networks

Edited by Ard-Pieter de Man

As an ever-increasing amount of innovation takes place within networks, companies are collaborating in developing and marketing new products, services and practices. This in turn requires knowledge to flow across company boundaries. This book demonstrates how companies encourage this knowledge to flow in networks that can involve dozens of partners. Substantiated by five in-depth case studies of innovative networks, the authors identify and analyse the solutions implemented by companies in order to meet the key knowledge management challenges they encounter. Theoretical and management implications of the study are then defined.

Chapter 1: Knowledge and Innovation in Networks: A Conceptual Framework

Ard-Pieter de Man, Hans Berends, Irene Lammers, Arjan van Weele and Erik van Raaij

Subjects: business and management, knowledge management, organisational innovation, innovation and technology, knowledge management, organisational innovation


Ard-Pieter de Man, Hans Berends, Irene Lammers, Erik van Raaij and Arjan van Weele Increasingly, innovation no longer takes place within individual firms, but within networks of organizations. An important requirement for such network-based innovations to come to fruition is that knowledge flows across organizational boundaries. Yet, it is not self-evident or easy to create and sustain knowledge flows within and across companies. This chapter presents a framework for studying knowledge management in alliance networks. This framework is used in subsequent chapters to analyse five case studies of knowledge sharing and innovation in networks. This chapter starts with a brief review of existing literature on alliance networks and knowledge management, leading to a conceptual model for studying knowledge management in networks. This conceptual model incorporates knowledge-sharing problems, solutions to those problems, and the contingent effects of network and knowledge type. The chapter concludes with a short introduction to the five case studies. KNOWLEDGE AND INNOVATION MANAGEMENT IN NETWORKS How was METRO, one of the world’s largest supermarket chains, able to create an innovative, ground-breaking future store with over 50 widely different partners? How are small family-owned companies in the Dutch cut-flower industry able to remain at the forefront of innovation and practically corner the world market? Why was Glare, a new material, finally used by Airbus after a long and arduous development process? The answer lies in the dynamics of the networks that collaborated on these innovations. In each case numerous partners were involved in creating something...

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