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The Power of Knowledge: Learning from 'Learning by Knowledge-Intensive Firm'


  • Dan Kärreman


This article reviews and discusses the contribution of William Starbuck's 'Learning by Knowledge-Intensive Firms'. Apart from situating Starbuck's article in its historical context and contemporary debates it is argued that the concept of esoteric knowledge and the focus on persuasion provides untapped potential for enhancing our understanding of knowledge work and knowledge-intensive firms. In conclusion, Starbuck's argument is used as input for a reconceptualization of the relationship between power, knowledge work, and knowledge-intensive firms. Copyright (c) 2010 The Author. Journal of Management Studies (c) 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd and Society for the Advancement of Management Studies.

Suggested Citation

  • Dan Kärreman, 2010. "The Power of Knowledge: Learning from 'Learning by Knowledge-Intensive Firm'," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(7), pages 1405-1416, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:47:y:2010:i:7:p:1405-1416

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jörgen Sandberg & Ashly H. Pinnington, 2009. "Professional Competence as Ways of Being: An Existential Ontological Perspective," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(7), pages 1138-1170, November.
    2. Jay B. Barney, 1986. "Strategic Factor Markets: Expectations, Luck, and Business Strategy," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(10), pages 1231-1241, October.
    3. Tomi Laamanen & Johan Wallin, 2009. "Cognitive Dynamics of Capability Development Paths," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(6), pages 950-981, September.
    4. Ulrich Lichtenthaler & Eckhard Lichtenthaler, 2009. "A Capability-Based Framework for Open Innovation: Complementing Absorptive Capacity," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(8), pages 1315-1338, December.
    5. Ikujiro Nonaka, 1994. "A Dynamic Theory of Organizational Knowledge Creation," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 5(1), pages 14-37, February.
    6. Joep P. Cornelissen, 2008. "Metonymy in Language about Organizations: A Corpus-Based Study of Company Names," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(1), pages 79-99, January.
    7. Alessia Contu & Hugh Willmott, 2003. "Re-Embedding Situatedness: The Importance of Power Relations in Learning Theory," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(3), pages 283-296, June.
    8. Bruce Kogut & Udo Zander, 1996. "What Firms Do? Coordination, Identity, and Learning," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 7(5), pages 502-518, October.
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