Opportunities and Resources in Latin America
Chapter 7: Knowledge Integration in Latin American Family Firms
Fernando Sandoval-Arzaga, Marcela Ramírez-Pasillas and María Fonseca-Paredes INTRODUCTION One of the most valuable resources for organizations is knowledge, which is essential in order to generate competitive advantage, to innovate, solve complex problems and contribute to achieving maximum value in knowledge assets (Von Krogh et al., 2000; Lawson and Lorenz, 1999; Leonard and Sensiper, 1998; Spender, 1998; Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995, Boisot, 1995; Barney, 1991). Knowledge is not a commodity located ‘out there’; rather, it is a product of what happens ‘in-between’ (Wood, 2002). This means that knowledge is shared, recombined and advanced when members of a business communicate with one another or work together. This occurs because knowledge is tacit (Polanyi, 1966). When knowledge is deployed as people converse or work jointly, knowledge integration is approached as a ‘dynamic capability’ (Teece et al., 1997; Eisenhardt and Martin, 2000) going on ‘in-between’. This in-betweenness signals that knowledge is continuously developed and renewed by being integrated in innovating organizations The main question that emerges in relation to family businesses is how this knowledge is shared. Within what frameworks can this knowledge flow from one generation to the next in family businesses? What practices are necessary for this to take place? In this chapter we attempt to describe the process of knowledge integration. We tie our research to the concept of familiness, which is based on the resource based view of the firm (RBV) developed by Habbershon and Williams (1999). Our empirical focus is on Latin American family businesses. Knowledge, as...
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