Flows of HRM Knowledge Through Informal Interorganizational Networks
Rutgers University; CMI
Niclas L. Erhardt
Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations - New Brunswick
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
September 22, 2011
Firms need new sources of HRM knowledge to enhance their internal knowledge stocks to manage their HRM systems, yet the importance of HRM knowledge flows has been somewhat neglected in the literature. We contend that flows of HRM knowledge take place in informal inter-organizational networks and that participating firms can learn from each other’s experiences in acquiring and developing organizational capabilities. To investigate this proposition, this study uses a cross-disciplinary approach drawing on key theoretical concepts from social network theory to examine the structural, relational, and motivational dimensions of informal inter-organizational diffusion of HRM knowledge within a network of 51 hightechnology firms located on a science and technology park. Using social network analysis and in-depth interviews with key informants, the study demonstrates the existence of collaborative, socially embedded relationships in informal, non-market mediated networks through which explicit and tacit HRM knowledge is disseminated across organizations. Specifically, the results indicate that by participating in HRM knowledge flows, firms may learn about HRM and increase their internal stocks of HRM knowledge, as well as maintain or increase legitimacy and prestige. The study also offers implications for human resource management, interorganizational knowledge diffusion, and management practice.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 43
Keywords: HRM knowledge, inter-organizational collaboration, informal networks, knowledge flows, social network
JEL Classification: O31, M12, L14,
Date posted: March 5, 2012
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