Session 218

Let the Knowledge Flow...

Track I

Date: Monday, October 12, 2009


Time: 15:45 – 17:00


Room: Meeting Room 2

Session Chair:
Georg von Krogh, ETH Zurich

Title: Contextual Ambidexterity as Catalyst for Intraorganizational Knowledge Transmission


  • Wolfgang H Guettel, Johannes Kepler University Linz
  • Stefan Konlechner, Johannes Kepler University Linz

Abstract: Organizations must resolve tensions between the opposing development modes of exploration and exploitation to evolve. The contradiction between exploratory and exploitative learning modes is highlighted in the research on ambidexterity. In this paper, we focus on the concept of contextual ambidexterity (ambidexterity that derives from a context that allows employees to pursue exploratory and exploitative activities). Based on a case study approach, we characterize several elements (formal structures and cultural values and norms) that constitute the context of contextual ambidexterity. Furthermore, we show that the major advantage of contextual ambidexterity is that it permits a fast intraorganizational knowledge transmission between exploratory and exploitative learning domains, which is necessary for the rapid development of innovative and applicable solutions.

Title: Human Resource Slack and Innovation: How Does Downsizing Affect Innovation Output?


  • Kamel Mellahi, University of Warwick
  • Adrian Wilkinson, Griffith University

Abstract: This study extends current research on the association between slack and innovation by focusing on the effects of reduction in slack level following downsizing on innovation output. Specifically, this study aims to answer three questions: When organizations engage in slack reduction through downsizing, what is the impact of the level of slack reduction on innovation? Does the impact of slack reduction vary over time? If so, what is the nature of this variance? We developed two hypotheses to examine the total effects and varied yearly effects. We tested our hypotheses with data from a panel of UK firms that downsized between 1997 and 2003. The results show that the level of downsizing only has temporary effects on innovation output.

Title: Motivating Employees to Share Knowledge in a Temporary Knowledge Repository: The Mediating Effect of Experience Recall


  • Jan Henrik Sieg, ETH Zurich
  • Martin Wallin, Chalmers University of Technology
  • Georg von Krogh, ETH Zurich

Abstract: Brainstorming plays a crucial role in generating ideas in the early stages of the innovation process. To harness the distributed knowledge of individuals, a temporary knowledge repository can facilitate brainstorming. Yet, little is known what (a) motivates individuals to share knowledge in a temporary knowledge repository and (b) whether there are mediators between motivation and knowledge sharing. Using large-scale survey data (N=1,116), we test a structural model linking individual motivation to experience recall and knowledge sharing. Preliminary results indicate that neither intrinsic nor extrinsic motivation have a significant direct effect on knowledge sharing, but a significant positive indirect effect through experience recall.

Title: Organizational Knowledge Flow and Firm Performance in the Biopharmaceutical Industry


  • Zeynep Erden, ETH Zurich
  • David Klang, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich
  • Renato Sydler, ETH Zurich
  • Georg von Krogh, ETH Zurich

Abstract: According to the knowledge-based view of the firm, the firm creates transfers and utilizes organizational knowledge that impacts on its performance. Incorporating recent research on the knowledge-based view, we review and test the impact of knowledge flows on firm performance on a global sample of public bio-pharmaceutical companies. Our research is timely, because in the past 10 years the biotechnology industry has significantly matured, giving rise to populations of specialized firms (e.g. biopharmaceuticals). This paper makes three major contributions. First, our model identifies precise variables and fine-grained items to measure organizational knowledge flows. Second, we test for a nonlinear impact of knowledge flows on firm performance. Third, we employ a longitudinal analysis to assess the relationships between knowledge flow and firm performance variables.

All Sessions in Track I...

Sun: 10:00 – 11:30
Session 264: Strategy in an Uncertain World: “Black Swan” Implications for K&I Scholars
Sun: 13:00 – 14:30
Session 265: The Changing Governance Landscape: Implications for Knowledge and Innovation Scholars
Sun: 15:00 – 16:30
Session 266: Integrating Theories of Problem Formation
Sun: 16:30 – 17:30
Session 313: Knowledge & Innovation, IG Meeting
Mon: 12:45 – 14:00
Session 201: 50th Anniversary of Penrose's (1959) The Theory of the Growth of the Firm
Session 212: Technological Innovation
Mon: 15:45 – 17:00
Session 218: Let the Knowledge Flow...
Session 223: Exploration and Novelty
Mon: 17:15 – 18:30
Session 209: Learning and Collaboration
Session 221: Innovation and Management Practice
Tue: 10:00 – 11:15
Session 202: Microfoundations of Knowledge and Learning
Session 235: Regulating the Market for Ideas: The Role of Communities, Norms, and Networks
Tue: 11:30 – 12:45
Session 203: Dynamic Capabilities
Session 224: Governing Knowledge
Tue: 14:30 – 15:45
Session 207: How Do Capabilities Develop?
Session 210: The Complex Roles of Experience
Wed: 10:00 – 11:15
Session 211: Knowledge Transfer
Session 215: Knowledge-Based Strategic Interaction
Wed: 11:30 – 12:45
Session 213: The Human Factor in Knowledge and Innovation
Session 219: Ambidexterity

Strategic Management Society

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