Jack of All Trades and Master of Knowledge: The Role of Diversification in New Distant Knowledge Integration
53 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2017 Last revised: 25 Aug 2019
Date Written: March 2, 2019
Organization-level knowledge diversification facilitates exploration – integration of external new knowledge –, yet knowledge accumulation poses a challenge because there is a trade-off between individual-level breadth and depth of knowledge. This leads to a need to coordinate larger teams in order to gather enough diverse expertise and capitalize on its benefits, a complex and costly process. As an alternative, we consider and show evidence of the role of individual-level diversification as a mechanism through which skilled researchers engage in successful exploration by utilizing the benefits of their breadth of knowledge and by mitigating the perceived disadvantages of their shallower depth of knowledge through diverse collaboration networks. Our results suggest that organizations seeking to innovate at the frontier should consider the benefits of hiring diverse researchers.
Keywords: Innovation, Exploration, Recombination, Diversification, Specialization, Collaboration, Process of Knowledge Creation
JEL Classification: O31, O32, O33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation