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Knowledge Transfer Between and Within Alliance Partners: Private versus Collective Benefits of Social Capital

44 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2010 Last revised: 19 Oct 2012

Jorge Walter

The George Washington University - School of Business

Christoph Lechner

University of St. Gallen

Franz W. Kellermanns

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Date Written: 2007

Abstract

This article examines the process through which multilevel network structures translate into knowledge acquisition from alliance partners. The degree of knowledge transfer a multidivisional company achieves from its network of alliance partners is determined not only by the organization's external network structure, but also by the structure of relationships among its business units. By distinguishing two perspectives on the distribution of social capital's benefits – private versus collective – this article's approach reconciles the competing views on what types of network structures create social capital, that is, the brokerage and closure views of the social network literature. Private benefits of brokerage and centrality are more beneficial in interfirm networks, whereas collective benefits provided by network closure and low levels of centralization are more beneficial in intrafirm networks.

Keywords: Inter- and intrafirm networks, knowledge transfer, social capital, strategic alliances

Suggested Citation

Walter, Jorge and Lechner, Christoph and Kellermanns, Franz W., Knowledge Transfer Between and Within Alliance Partners: Private versus Collective Benefits of Social Capital (2007). Journal of Business Research, 60(7): 698–710. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1586492

Jorge Walter (Contact Author)

The George Washington University - School of Business ( email )

School of Business
2201 G Street, NW, Funger Hall 615
Washington, DC 20052
United States

Christoph Lechner

University of St. Gallen ( email )

Varnbuelstr. 14
Saint Gallen, St. Gallen CH-9000
Switzerland

Franz W. Kellermanns

University of Tennessee, Knoxville ( email )

Knoxville, TN 37996
United States

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