Knowledge-Sharing in Value-Chain Networks: Certifying Collaborators for Effective Protection Process
Advances in Competitiveness Research, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 152-164 (2003).
14 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2012
Date Written: 2003
Three major trends have come together raising the stakes for firms seeing to compete in the new economy. First, knowledge management poses the idea that every organization holds knowledge in the minds of its personnel that can be identified, collected and managed for competitive advantage. Second, modern internet technology has enabled knowledge management to be more easily accomplished while also taking the concept outside the firm's borders. With advanced data management capabilities, instant communication throughout a network, and a mechanism to tie together disparate computer systems, cutting-edge firms are able to use the knowledge of their entire value chain as a competitive weapon. A third major development in business dampens this enthusiasm regarding knowledge management and e-business. Competitive intelligence has grown and continues to grow. Legitimate competitive intelligence activities pose a particular threat to internet-driven knowledge-sharing networks for a number of reasons, but the principal problem is more knowledge, in more heads, under less control, and in digital form. The question is what to do about it? One the one hand, knowledge management and e-business networks both offer a lot to firms seeking to differentiate themselves from competitors. On the other hand, such systems open firms up to competitive intelligence efforts from those same competitors. Can the system be constructed to be both useful and also protect firms from competitive intelligence incursions? In this article we suggest that a collaborator certification system would be appropriate and we describe what such a system might look like.
Keywords: Knowledge management, competitive intelligence, e-networks, e-commerce, corporate strategy, collaborator certification, the Economic Espionage Act
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