Organizational knowledge, collective practice and Penrose rents
Recent developments in the resource-based theory of the firm have suggested that organizational knowledge is the key to competitive advantage. We argue for several different types of knowledge, developing a two-by-two matrix using the explicit-implicit and individual-social distinctions. Resource-based theory characteristically overlooks the collective knowledge and skills required to coordinate the resources into a viable bundle. It overlooks, therefore, the synergistic aspects of the organization as a system of practice. We argue that these are emergent, a result of fundamental collective learning and remembering capabilities, and the key to the firm's sustainable competitive advantage. We conclude by raising the paradox embedded in Penrose's theory of the firm, that if the collective resources built up by learning by doing give rise to Penrose rents, they are also appropriable.
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Volume (Year): 3 (1994)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
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