Creating Knowledge and Overcoming Redundancy in Networks: Beyond the Strong/Weak Tie Dichotomy
Advanced Institute of Management Research Paper No. 053
46 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2008
Date Written: February 1, 2007
This paper builds on Granovetter's distinction between strong and weak ties and responds to recent calls for a more dynamic, processual and thus comprehensive understanding of knowledge transfer in networks with regard to both the nature of the ties that link firms to novel sources of knowledge and the ability to mobilize around these new ideas. The concepts of potential and latent tie are introduced in order to consider how new ties develop and relationships decay. The findings of an empirical study conducted with companies operating in the British and Italian motorsport industries reveal that firms seek out potential new ties and reactivate latent ties in order to solve problems, address perceived knowledge deficiencies and create new knowledge. These conceptual and empirical insights move understanding of the managerial challenge of building effective networks beyond static structural contingency models of optimal network forms to highlight the processes and capabilities of dynamic relationship building and network development.
Keywords: knowledge creation and transfer, networks, inter-organizational ties, motorsport
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