Cognitive Distance in and Between COP’s and Firms: Where do Exploitation and Exploration take Place, and How are they Connected?
AbstractThis paper contributes to the analysis of where and how both exploitation and exploration may take place inside and between communities and organizations. It connects with the discussion of differences between communities of practice and epistemic communities. The analysis allows for differences in cognition within communities of practice (‘cognitive distance’). Such distance yields potential novelty but creates problems in utilizing that potential. In communities of practice and epistemic communities different trade-offs are made between the advantages and disadvantages of cognitive distance. Communities of practice are more oriented at exploitation, at relatively small cognitive distance. Exploration may take place in epistemic communities, with larger internal cognitive distance, but may also arise from interaction between different communities of practice, utilizing the distance between them. Organizations serve to provide the basis for the governance of such interaction. This, however, does limit the cognitive distance, and hence exploration potential, within an organization. For more radical exploration, interaction is needed between organizations, at the price of greater efforts to set up and govern collaboration. Next to communities of practice, epistemic communities and organizations, the analysis also includes communities of professionals across different organizations. They also have a role to play in a wider system of organizational forms for exploitation and exploration.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research in its series Discussion Paper with number 2007-4.
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
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Web page: http://center.uvt.nl
innovation; exploration and exploitation; communities of practice;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, and Operations
- D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
- L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
- O31 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
- O32 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2007-02-17 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2007-02-17 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-INO-2007-02-17 (Innovation)
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