Rich Ties and Innovative Knowledge Transfer within a Firm

16 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2014

See all articles by Rick Aalbers

Rick Aalbers

University of Groningen - SOM Research School; Deloitte Consulting

W. Dolfsma

University of Groningen School of Economics and Business

O. Koppius

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University; Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

Date Written: October 2014

Abstract

We show that contacts in formal, informal and especially multiplex networks explain transfer of innovative knowledge in an organization. The contribution of informal contacts has been much acknowledged, while that of formal contacts did not receive much attention in the literature in recent decades. No study thus far has included both these different kinds of contacts in a firm, let alone considered their combined effect. The exact overlap between formal as well as informal contacts between individuals, forming multiplex or what we call rich ties because of their contribution, especially drives the transfer of new, innovative knowledge in a firm. Studying two cases in very different settings suggests these rich ties have a particularly strong effect on knowledge transfer in an organization, even when controlling for the strength of ties. Some of the effects on knowledge transfer in an organization previously ascribed to either the formal network or the informal network may actually be due to their combined effect in a rich tie.

Suggested Citation

Aalbers, Rick and Dolfsma, Wilfred and Koppius, Otto, Rich Ties and Innovative Knowledge Transfer within a Firm (October 2014). British Journal of Management, Vol. 25, Issue 4, pp. 833-848, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2504196 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8551.12040

Rick Aalbers (Contact Author)

University of Groningen - SOM Research School ( email )

P.O. Box 800
9700 AV Groningen
Netherlands

Deloitte Consulting ( email )

General-Guisan-Quai 38
Z├╝rich, 8022
United States

Wilfred Dolfsma

University of Groningen School of Economics and Business ( email )

P.O. Box 800
9700 AH Groningen, Groningen 9700 AV
Netherlands

Otto Koppius

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University ( email )

RSM Erasmus University
PO Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands
+31 10 408 2032 (Phone)
+31 10 408 9010 (Fax)

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

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