Cui Bono? The Selective Revealing of Knowledge and Its Implications for Innovative Activity

Forthcoming, The Academy of Management Review

50 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2010 Last revised: 6 Jan 2013

See all articles by Oliver Alexy

Oliver Alexy

Technische Universität München (TUM), TUM School of Management

Gerard George

Singapore Management University

Ammon Salter

University of Bath - School of Management

Date Written: July 24, 2012

Abstract

Current theories of how organizations harness knowledge for innovative activity cannot convincingly explain emergent practices whereby firms selectively reveal knowledge to their advantage. We conceive selective revealing as a strategic mechanism to re-shape the collaborative behavior of other actors in the innovation ecosystem. We propose that selective revealing may provide a more effective alternative to known collaboration mechanisms in particular under conditions of high partner uncertainty, high coordination costs, and unwilling potential collaborators. We specify conditions when firms are more likely to reveal knowledge and highlight some boundary conditions for competitor reciprocity. We elaborate upon strategies that allow firms to exhibit managerial agency in selective revealing, and discuss its implications for theories of innovation and management practice.

Keywords: Selective revealing, collaboration, innovation, induced isomorphism, absorptive capacity, knowledge

JEL Classification: O33, O32, O31, L10, L20

Suggested Citation

Alexy, Oliver and George, Gerard and Salter, Ammon, Cui Bono? The Selective Revealing of Knowledge and Its Implications for Innovative Activity (July 24, 2012). Forthcoming, The Academy of Management Review. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1639325 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1639325

Oliver Alexy (Contact Author)

Technische Universität München (TUM), TUM School of Management ( email )

Arcisstr. 21
Munich, 80333
Germany
+49-89-289-52803 (Phone)
+49-89-289-52899 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ent.wi.tum.de

Gerard George

Singapore Management University ( email )

469 Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 912409
Singapore

HOME PAGE: http://www.smu.edu.sg/faculty/profile/118836/Gerry-GEORGE

Ammon Salter

University of Bath - School of Management ( email )

Claverton Down
Bath, BA2 7AY
United Kingdom

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