Knowledge Integration in Large-Scale Organizations and Networks – Conceptual Overview and Operational Definition
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - School of Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
July 21, 2009
Knowledge integration is an emerging discipline in organizational science where the central proposition is that the increasing complexity of products and services being developed and delivered, means that the knowledge required for production is increasingly specialized, varied (multi-disciplinary) and distributed across the organization’s internal boundaries, and as a result there is a need for organizations to continuously gather their knowledge resources in order to maintain their ability to innovate, and to sustain their competitive position in the market. In addition, the increasing scale and scope of organizational arrangements, such as multinational partnerships or multi-tiered prime-supplier arrangements commonly encountered in the aerospace, automotive and other complex product development industries, also give rise to environments of dispersed knowledge resources, thus necessitating the subsequent integration of this knowledge across external boundaries spanning large-scale organizational networks. Knowledge integration in this context is done through a process of transferring knowledge from multiple sources in the organizational network to where it is needed, combining it with existing knowledge, before it can be applied to accomplish complex tasks and to solve major problems.
The primary purpose of this paper is to define the powerful concept of knowledge integration in large-scale organizational networks using an extensive review of the pertinent literature on knowledge in organizations. An operational definition for knowledge integration is also proposed, followed by a systematic identification and classification of the different strategies, practices, channels and mechanisms for integrating different types of knowledge across a multitude of organizational boundaries and environments.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 37
Keywords: Knowledge Integration, Knowledge Transfer, Knowledge Sharing, Knowledge Utilization, Knowledge-Based View of the Firm
JEL Classification: L23, M54working papers series
Date posted: December 30, 2009
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