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Knowledge Creation In Temporary Regional Networks

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  • Roel Rutten

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  • Irawati Dessy

Abstract

The literature on trust, control and knowledge creation in seems to be moving towards a consensus. Trust is necessary to create an open atmosphere for knowledge creation while control acts as a safeguard against malfeasance. Networks that neglect either one often create less knowledge, such as new skills and products. Temporary networks, however, may have to depend more on control than on trust since their temporary nature may reduce the opportunity to develop trust. This paper contributes to the literature on trust, control and knowledge creation by empirically examining these variables in temporary innovation networks in the Eindhoven region in the Netherlands. Previous research showed that these networks contribute to regional economic development. This paper explores the mechanism through which this happens. Temporary innovation networks may lack trust in case the partners had no previously collaboration. They may therefore rely more heavily on control. On the other hand, these networks are formed with a specific purpose and may have mechanism to compensate for a lack of trust. The research question of this paper is: How do trust and control affect knowledge creation outcomes of these networks? Several factors that may affect this causal relation will be taken into account: - Previous relations among partners, - Mutual dependency among partners, - Level of agreement on project goals. The data for this research were collected in 2005. The paper develops several theoretical patterns on how trust and control affect knowledge creation among the members of the temporary networks and how this yields knowledge creation outcomes. Different levels of trust and control have different effects on the willingness to share knowledge and the use of communication modes. Control encourages formal communication that emphasizes the exchange of codified knowledge, while trust encourages informal communication that emphasizes the exchange of tacit knowledge. Both are necessary to produce knowledge creation outcomes. The paper develops several theoretical patterns that ar matched to empirical patterns derived from selected networks (cases) in the Eindhoven region. The results show that a combination of moderate control and high levels of trust produce the highest levels of knowledge creation outcomes.

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Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa10p535.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa10p535

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  1. M. Ozman, 2009. "Inter-firm networks and innovation: a survey of literature," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(1), pages 39-67.
  2. Richard L. Daft & Robert H. Lengel, 1986. "Organizational Information Requirements, Media Richness and Structural Design," Management Science, INFORMS, INFORMS, vol. 32(5), pages 554-571, May.
  3. Nooteboom, Bart & Van Haverbeke, Wim & Duysters, Geert & Gilsing, Victor & van den Oord, Ad, 2007. "Optimal cognitive distance and absorptive capacity," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 1016-1034, September.
  4. Dekker, Henri C., 2004. "Control of inter-organizational relationships: evidence on appropriation concerns and coordination requirements," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 27-49, January.
  5. Nohria, Nitin & Gulati, Ranjay, 1997. "What is the optimum amount of organizational slack? : A study of the relationship between slack and innovation in multinational firms," European Management Journal, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 603-611, December.
  6. David Angel, 2002. "Inter-firm Collaboration and Technology Development Partnerships Within US Manufacturing Industries," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(4), pages 333-344.
  7. Kevin Morgan, 2004. "The exaggerated death of geography: learning, proximity and territorial innovation systems," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 3-21, January.
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