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Organizational knowledge, collective practice and Penrose rents


  • Spender, J. -C.


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Spender, J. -C., 1994. "Organizational knowledge, collective practice and Penrose rents," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 353-367, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:iburev:v:3:y:1994:i:4:p:353-367

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    Cited by:

    1. Gürdal Ertek & Gül Tokdemir & Mete Sevinç & Murat Mustafa Tunç, 2017. "New knowledge in strategic management through visually mining semantic networks," Information Systems Frontiers, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 165-185, February.
    2. Spulber, Daniel F., 2012. "Tacit knowledge with innovative entrepreneurship," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 641-653.
    3. Christos N. Pitelis, 2011. "Foreign Direct Investment and Economic Integration," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Integration, Volume III, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. repec:exl:2manag:v:16:y:2015:i:2:p:137-148 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Johansson, Magnus & Jonsson, Anna, 2012. "The package logic: A study on value creation and knowledge flows," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 535-551.
    6. Glaister, Keith W. & Husan, Rumy & Buckley, Peter J., 2003. "Learning to manage international joint ventures," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 83-108, February.
    7. repec:spr:manint:v:48:y:2008:i:3:d:10.1007_s11575-008-0018-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Kraaijenbrink, Jeroen & Spender, JC & Groen, Aard, 2009. "The resource-based view: A review and assessment of its critiques," MPRA Paper 21442, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Iman Seoudi & Matthias Huehn & Bo Carlsson, 2008. "Penrose Revisited: A Re-Appraisal of the Resource Perspective," Working Papers 14, The German University in Cairo, Faculty of Management Technology.
    10. María del Mar Benavides-Espinosa & Salvador Roig-Dobón, 2011. "The role of entrepreneurs in transferring knowledge through human resource management and joint venture," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 32(1), pages 117-131, March.
    11. van den Bosch, F.A.J. & van Wijk, R.A.J.L., 2000. "Creation of Managerial Capabilities Through Managerial Knowledge Integration," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2000-19-STR, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    12. Shameen Prashantham, 2005. "Toward a Knowledge-Based Conceptualization of Internationalization," Journal of International Entrepreneurship, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 37-52, January.
    13. Encarnación García-Sánchez & Víctor Jesús García-Morales & María Teresa Bolívar-Ramos, 2017. "The influence of top management support for ICTs on organisational performance through knowledge acquisition, transfer, and utilisation," Review of Managerial Science, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 19-51, January.
    14. Salina Daud, 2015. "The antecedents of corporate sustainability performance," Proceedings of International Academic Conferences 2704927, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences.
    15. A.K.M. Mominul Haque Talukder & Md. Irfanuzzaman Khan, 2013. "Human Resource Planning and Competitive Advantage: Investigating the Relationship," KASBIT Business Journals, Khadim Ali Shah Bukhari Institute of Technology (KASBIT), vol. 6, pages 29-37, December.
    16. Eymann, Torsten (Ed.), 2011. "Tagungsband zum Doctoral Consortium der WI 2011
      [Proceedings of the Doctoral Consortium of the Wirtschaftsinformatik 2011]
      ," Bayreuth Reports on Information Systems Management 51, University of Bayreuth, Chair of Information Systems Management.
    17. Reihlen, Markus & Ringberg, Torsten, 2013. "Uncertainty, pluralism, and the knowledge-based theory of the firm: From J.-C. Spender’s contribution to a socio-cognitive approach," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 706-716.
    18. Nicolai J. Foss, 1997. "Equilibrium vs Evolution in the Resource-Based Perspective The Conflicting Legacies of Demsetz and Penrose," DRUID Working Papers 97-10, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.


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