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Bad company? The ambiguity of personal knowledge networks

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  • Gernot Grabher
  • Oliver Ibert
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    Abstract

    Recent debates on learning have shifted the analytical focus from formal organizational arrangements to informal personal ties. Personal knowledge networks, though, mostly are perceived as homogenous, cohesive, and local personal ties. Moreover, a functionalist tone seems to prevail in accounts in which personal knowledge networks are seen to compensate the shortcomings of the formal organization. This paper sets out to expand the dominant construal of networks, which is largely molded by the notion of embeddedness. Against the background of in-depth empirical analysis of the project ecologies of the Hamburg advertising and the Munich software business, the paper will first venture into the neglected sphere of thin, ephemeral, and global personal knowledge networks by differentiating between connectivity, sociality, and communality networks. Second, the paper not only elucidates the supportive functions of these ties but also explores the tensions between personal interests, project goals, and the firm's aims that are induced by these personal knowledge networks. Copyright 2006, Oxford University Press.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Journal of Economic Geography.

    Volume (Year): 6 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 3 (June)
    Pages: 251-271

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    Handle: RePEc:oup:jecgeo:v:6:y:2006:i:3:p:251-271

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    Cited by:
    1. Oliver Ibert & Suntje Schmidt, 2014. "Once You Are In You Might Need to Get Out: Adaptation and Adaptability in Volatile Labor Markets—the Case of Musical Actors," Social Sciences, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(1), pages 1-23, January.
    2. Huber, Franz, 2013. "Knowledge-sourcing of R&D workers in different job positions: Contextualising external personal knowledge networks," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 167-179.
    3. Gurrieri, Antonia Rosa, 2013. "Networking entrepreneurs," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 193-204.
    4. Schwartz, Michael & Hornych, Christoph, 2010. "Informal networking: An overview of the literature and an agenda for future research," Jena Contributions to Economic Research 2010,1, University of Applied Sciences Jena, Department of Business Administration.
    5. Amin, Ash & Roberts, Joanne, 2008. "Knowing in action: Beyond communities of practice," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 353-369, March.
    6. Radwan, Lukas & Kinder, Sebastian & Dispan, Jürgen, 2013. "Opportunity structures for co-determination in innovations: The case of the Stuttgart area," MPRA Paper 53252, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2013.

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