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Structural Knowledge: How Executive Experience with Structural Composition Affects Intrafirm Mobility and Unit Reconfiguration

Karim, Samina and Charles Williams (2012). “Structural knowledge: How executive experience with structural composition affects intrafirm mobility and structural change.” Strategic Management Journal 33(6): 681-709.

Posted: 2 Mar 2012 Last revised: 7 Nov 2014

Samina Karim

Northeastern University

Charles Williams

Bocconi University - Department of Management and Technology

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

This article explores how knowledge embodied in executives is tied to the organizational context in which it develops. Drawing on the knowledge-based view of the firm and human capital theory, we predict that executives will move between units with similar ‘structural composition’ — a characteristic representing unit origin (as acquired or internally developed) and how the unit was reconfigured. We further argue that executives will be conduits of organizational change. We predict that units receiving more transferred executives, executives with recombination experience, and executives from core internal units will have a greater likelihood of being recombined, while units receiving executives from previously acquired units will tend to remain unchanged. The study examines a 20-year panel of 48 multidivisional firms from the U.S. medical sector.

Keywords: executive mobility, organizational structure, knowledge transfer, human capital theory, recombination, intraorganizational mobility

Suggested Citation

Karim, Samina and Williams, Charles, Structural Knowledge: How Executive Experience with Structural Composition Affects Intrafirm Mobility and Unit Reconfiguration (2012). Karim, Samina and Charles Williams (2012). “Structural knowledge: How executive experience with structural composition affects intrafirm mobility and structural change.” Strategic Management Journal 33(6): 681-709.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2013779 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2013779

Samina Karim (Contact Author)

Northeastern University ( email )

Boston, MA 02115
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.damore-mckim.northeastern.edu/faculty/k/karim-samina/

Charles Williams

Bocconi University - Department of Management and Technology ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, MI 20136
Italy

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