On and Off the Beaten Path: How Individuals Broker Knowledge Through Formal and Informal Networks
53 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2004
Date Written: 31 2004 8,
Although informal networks are often emphasized as facilitating knowledge transfer, we use network data obtained from a multi-unit high-tech firm to show that the formal network also significantly contributes to inter-unit knowledge transfer. Individuals centrally placed in a network are, in addition, more involved in knowledge transfer, especially, the evidence suggests, in the case of the formal network. Focusing on the brokerage roles that individual fulfill, we find that knowledge transfer between units is more likely to occur through externally oriented brokers than internally oriented brokers in the formal network, but not in the informal network. Overall, the results show that there is more than one path to transfer knowledge.
Keywords: knowledge transfer, inter-unit knowledge transfer, communication networks, centrality, brokerage roles
JEL Classification: M, M10, O32, L2, D29
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation