Small World Networks and Knowledge Creation: Implications for Multiple Levels of Analysis

54 Pages Posted: 6 May 2003  

Melissa A. Schilling

New York University (NYU) - Department of Management and Organizational Behavior

Corey C. Phelps

McGill University

Date Written: January 28, 2004

Abstract

We integrate research on creativity and innovation at the individual, group and interfirm-network levels to develop a level-agnostic definition of a knowledge network. We identify properties of these networks that appear to be common across levels, and show how these properties influence knowledge diffusion and search. We then apply graph theoretic findings on small worlds to this knowledge network approach to show how the structure of a knowledge network will impact its rate of new knowledge creation: small world properties enable a knowledge network to simultaneously achieve high bandwidth and great reach, accelerating the rate of knowledge creation.

Keywords: knowledge network, knowledge creation, small-world networks, cognitive insight, group innovation, social networks, alliances, knowledge diffusion, recombinant search

JEL Classification: D83, O31, O32, Z13

Suggested Citation

Schilling, Melissa A. and Phelps, Corey C., Small World Networks and Knowledge Creation: Implications for Multiple Levels of Analysis (January 28, 2004). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=385022 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.385022

Melissa A. Schilling

New York University (NYU) - Department of Management and Organizational Behavior ( email )

40 West Fourth Street
New York, NY 10012
United States
212-998-0249 (Phone)
212-995-4235 (Fax)

Corey C. Phelps (Contact Author)

McGill University ( email )

1001 Sherbrooke St. W
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1G5
Canada

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