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Paper info: Successful Inter-Organizational Knowledge Transfer: DevelopingPre-Conditions through the Management of the RelationshipContext

Title


Successful Inter-Organizational Knowledge Transfer: DevelopingPre-Conditions through the Management of the RelationshipContext

Authors


Harri T. Nieminen

Place of Publication


The paper was published at the 21st IMP-conference in Rotterdam, Netherlands in 2005.

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Abstract


A key to developing company’s competitive advantage has been increasingly recognized to lie in theset of organizational resources, and especially in the organization’s knowledge base and corecompetencies. Besides that, companies especially in high-technology industries are forced to rely ontheir partnerships in coping with the number of technologies in order to cope with the complexbusiness environment. The aim of this conceptual paper is to discuss how and under what conditionspre-conditions for inter-organizational knowledge transfer can be developed. As a result, a conceptualframework will be developed for the analysis of the phenomenon.In knowledge transfer the challenge is to develop competencies by transferring and integratingknowledge from external sources into the organization’s knowledge base. Knowledge transfer is acomplex process that is essentially dependent on the relationship context, developed supportstructures, knowledge characteristics and the companies’ learning abilities and incentives. Oneessential question in this regard is that there is often asymmetric power between the partners basedon the control of the task and resources within the relationship. Consequently, the fear of opportunisticbehavior and the need for mutual forbearance, which can be seen to essentially help the developmentof a trusting and committed atmosphere within the relationship, are key management issues. In aknowledge transfer context it is very difficult to develop meticulous governing contracts as theexchange process is highly social and processual. Thus, understanding the nature and dynamics ofrelationship management in a knowledge transfer context is an essential question regardingcompanies’ ability to develop new competencies.