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Empirical evidence regarding the tension between knowledge sharing and knowledge expropriation in collaborations

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  • Bruce A. Heiman

    (College of Business, San Francisco State University, USA)

  • Jack A. Nickerson

    (Olin School of Business, Washington University in St. Louis, USA)

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    Abstract

    Interfirm collaborations can raise a fundamental dilemma. To create value, collaborators may have to adopt a variety of practices to facilitate knowledge transfer. Deploying these practices may increase the likelihood that economically valuable knowledge, which is (1) beyond the scope of the collaboration, and (2) difficult to legally protect, is expropriated. How can firms manage this dilemma? The purpose of this paper is to empirically examine the veracity of a chain of propositions addressing this dilemma based on a novel joint knowledge-based view|transaction cost economics framework. A plausible chain of relationships is briefly summarized and explored in detail empirically using unrelated datasets. The chain links two knowledge-based attributes of collaboration-knowledge tacitness and problem-solving complexity-to the use of knowledge management practices-high-bandwidth communication channels and co-specialized communication codes. These practices are economic responses to knowledge-sharing difficulties as measured by tacitness and complexity. Increasing knowledge transparency via knowledge management practices, however, gives rise to opportunism hazards, which are safeguarded against via economizing governance choice. Our empirical effort examines the effects that two knowledge attributes of collaborations have on governance choice, first directly and then indirectly through the intervening linkages. Empirical results from both datasets indicate substantial support for the proposed chain of relationships. The results are provocative in that they offer the first preliminary evidence for a plausible reconciliation of two perspectives previously treated exclusively as adversaries. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/mde.1198
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Managerial and Decision Economics.

    Volume (Year): 25 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 6-7 ()
    Pages: 401-420

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:mgtdec:v:25:y:2004:i:6-7:p:401-420

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    Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/7976

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    1. Geert Duysters & John Hagedoorn, 1998. "Technological Convergence in the IT Industry: The Role of Strategic Technology Alliances and Technological Competencies," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(3), pages 355-368.
    2. Bruce Heiman & Jack Nickerson, 2002. "Towards Reconciling Transaction Cost Economics and the Knowledge-based View of the Firm: The Context of Interfirm Collaborations," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(1), pages 97-116.
    3. Kogut, Bruce, 1989. "The Stability of Joint Ventures: Reciprocity and Competitive Rivalry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(2), pages 183-98, December.
    4. John Hagedoorn & Rajneesh Narula, 1996. "Choosing Organizational Modes of Strategic Technology Partnering: International and Sectoral Differences," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 27(2), pages 265-284, June.
    5. Henisz, Witold J, 2000. "The Institutional Environment for Multinational Investment," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 334-64, October.
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    Cited by:
    1. Li, Dan, 2013. "Multilateral R&D alliances by new ventures," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 241-260.
    2. Narula, Rajneesh & Santangelo, Grazia D., 2007. "Location and R&D alliances in the European ICT industry," MERIT Working Papers 008, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    3. Hansen, Zeynep & Higgins, Matthew, 2007. "The Effect of Contractual Complexity on Technology Sourcing Agreements," MPRA Paper 4979, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Nickerson, Jack A. & Yen, C. James & Mahoney, Joseph T., 2011. "Exploring the Problem-Finding and Problem-Solving Approach for Designing Organizations," Working Papers, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business 11-0107, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business.
    5. Che Rusuli & R. Tasmin & J. Takala & H. Norazlin & K. Phusavat & J. Walsh & Raja Abdullah Yaacob, 2013. "Relationship Between Knowledge Management Practices And Library Users’ Satisfaction: A Preliminary Result of Malaysian University Libraries," Diversity, Technology, and Innovation for Operational Competitiveness: Proceedings of the 2013 International Conference on Technology Innovation and Industrial Management, ToKnowPress, ToKnowPress.
    6. repec:rdg:wpaper:em-dp2007-43 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Keilbach, Max & Bönte, Werner, 2004. "Concubinage or Marriage? Informal and Formal Cooperations for Innovation," ZEW Discussion Papers, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research 04-11, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    8. Laursen, Keld & Salter, Ammon J., 2014. "The paradox of openness: Appropriability, external search and collaboration," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 43(5), pages 867-878.
    9. Belderbos, René & Cassiman, Bruno & Faems, Dries & Leten, Bart & Van Looy, Bart, 2014. "Co-ownership of intellectual property: Exploring the value-appropriation and value-creation implications of co-patenting with different partners," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 43(5), pages 841-852.
    10. Paul H. Jensen & Elizabeth Webster, 2006. "Managing Knowledge Flows through Appropriation and Learning Strategies," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne wp2006n06, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.

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