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 10: A Management Agenda

Ard-Pieter de Man

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

Extract

Ard-Pieter de Man INTRODUCTION Knowledge management within organizations is a challenging task. Few organizations succeed in ensuring the effective transfer, sharing and creation of knowledge. To extend knowledge management beyond company boundaries involves even more challenges. The case studies have shown that knowledge management in networks is possible, but that there is a limit to it. Coincidence will continue to play a role in networks. The cases have revealed no grand design for knowledge management, but they also show that such a conscious design is not always necessary to get knowledge flowing. Trying to control all knowledge is not possible and is probably also counterproductive. It would require so many rules and regulations that the cost would be prohibitive. Still, there is much companies can do to improve knowledge management. The flip-side of the limits to knowledge management is that limiting knowledge flows is also only possible to some extent. Knowledge will flow from one company to the next in the normal encounters people have or via formal communication (websites, trade journals etc.). No company is an island and as long as organizations exist, knowledge will flow in and out. Even when companies try to limit the flow of knowledge consciously, they may not succeed. The Glare case has shown that knowledge exchange continued despite official discouragement by management. This chapter defines the guidelines for organizations. It starts by defining the steps required to develop an effective knowledge-sharing network. Next, it digs deeper into customization...

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