How to Find Answers within Your Company

MIT Sloan Research Paper

13 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2010 Last revised: 13 Dec 2013

See all articles by Hind Benbya

Hind Benbya

Montpellier Business School

Marshall W. Van Alstyne

Boston University – Questrom School of Business; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School

Date Written: August 2, 2010


Internal markets can improve knowledge sharing, information exchange, forecasting, innovation, and productivity within the firm. Despite their widespread popularity, however, the strategies to implement and manage markets inside organizational boundaries are not well understood. This article provides a design framework for developing knowledge markets inside firms; it provides a stage model or ‘life cycle’ of internal market development, and explores critical issues at each stage. Our framework proceeds from an analysis of more than three dozen firm implementations, and builds on three economic theories: price theory, monetary theory, and two-sided network theory. For each stage of implementation, the framework outlines the challenges faced by firms studied and identifies solutions to make knowledge markets work. The resulting blueprint adds rigor to the difficult tasks of measuring, valuing, and stimulating the production of information.

Keywords: Knowledge Markets, Internal Crowdsourcing, Virtual Currencies, Information Markets, Knowledge Management Systems, Productivity, Internal Markets, Two-Sided Networks, Price Theory, Monetary Policy, Incentives, IT Adoption, Measurement

JEL Classification: D8, E31, E52, L86, M10, O31, O32, O42

Suggested Citation

Benbya, Hind and Van Alstyne, Marshall W., How to Find Answers within Your Company (August 2, 2010). MIT Sloan Research Paper , Available at SSRN:

Hind Benbya

Montpellier Business School ( email )

2300, Avenue des Moulins
Montpellier, 34185
+33 4 67 10 28 19 (Phone)


Marshall W. Van Alstyne (Contact Author)

Boston University – Questrom School of Business ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States
617-358-3571 (Phone)


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School ( email )

Initiative on the Digital Economy
245 First St, Room E94-1521
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-0768 (Phone)


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