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

See all articles by Frank Nagle

Frank Nagle

Harvard Business School

Florenta Teodoridis

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business

Date Written: March 2, 2019

Abstract

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

Nagle, Frank and Teodoridis, Florenta, Jack of All Trades and Master of Knowledge: The Role of Diversification in New Distant Knowledge Integration (March 2, 2019). USC-INET Research Paper No. 17-23 (R). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3017363 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3017363

Frank Nagle (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Florenta Teodoridis

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business ( email )

701 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
207
Abstract Views
1,033
rank
147,079
PlumX Metrics