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Paper info: Self-organising through knowledge creation: A network perspective

Title


Self-organising through knowledge creation: A network perspective

Authors


Louise Young
University of Western Sydney
Australia
Louise Young and
Sara Denize
University of Western Sydney
Australia
Sara Denize

Place of Publication


The paper was published at the 16th IMP-conference in Bath, U.K in 2000.

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Abstract


Knowledge is becoming a ?hot topic? in business literature. Knowledge is seen as essential iffirms are to survive in the marketplace. While marketing intelligence comes from a variety ofsources, a particularly rich source of knowledge is embedded in the other members in one'snetwork(s). While attention has thus far been primarily at the level of the firm, there also hasstarted to be interest in knowledge properties of networks (Augier. and Vendelø 1999). Thishowever has mostly focussed on the use of knowledge (i.e. ?knowledge management?) rolesthat networks can play rather than on their creation. When knowledge creation and cocreationare considered, it is within the management literature and at the firm level (Nonaka1994). However we argue that the information creation capabilities of relationships and thenetworks they are embedded in far exceed that of individual firms. Together networkorganisations create, share, exchange and use knowledge.There is a further gap in work to date which conceives of knowledge most often viewed as aresource rather than as an activity. While this is partially correct in that knowledge is aresource that is embedded in activity, knowledge is more - it can not be separated from theprocesses of creation, organising and using it. Actitivies of knowledge include thetransformational activities of structuring, assigning meaning and interpretation (Berger andLuckmann, 1966; Nonaka, 1994; Schutz and Luckmann, 1985) as well the the way in whichit is used.This paper seeks to address these gaps by considering the interactive and evolving aspects ofnetwork activity as a means of creating knowledge and on the creation of knowledge as adriver of network evolution. Based on earlier, preliminary work (Denize et al 1996), webegin with a discussion of the nature of knowledge. This analysis provides the basis forconsidering the principle views of knowledge creation and utilisation. We maintain thatknowledge is inevitably created and used in networks and present the argument thatconsidering knowledge as contextual resource-activity coupling will enable managers tomake better knowledge management decisions. The paper concludes with a preliminarymodel of the knowledge creation and use in interfirm networks and a discussion of thenormative implications of this perspective. We conclude that knowledge is an emergentproperty of the firm and the network relationships in which the firm is involved. Thisdynamic and contextual quality of knowledge means that traditional resource-based strategiesfor managing knowledge, its creation, organisation and utilisation may not always besufficient.