Organising the process of knowledge integration: the benefits of structural ambiguity
In this article we examine how loose coupling between units and people can benefit a firm's ability to combine and recombine knowledge-based resources continuously in a creative and flexible way. An in-depth study of Oticon A/S suggests that loose coupling can be deliberately brought into the design of the organisation by introducing a certain structural ambiguity into the configuration of role systems and authority relationships. In the first part of the paper, we show how loose coupling among units and people is a distinctive feature of the way Oticon organises its administrative activities. In the second, we explore the structural properties of a loosely coupled arrangement. We develop the concepts of multipolarity, fluidity and interconnectedness and we show how these properties conduce to an increase in the effectiveness, efficiency and flexibility of the processes of knowledge integration. Structural ambiguity is thus proposed as a viable design principle for organisations operating in hypercompetitive environment, where flexible knowledge integration represents a critical condition of survival.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 17 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/872/description#description|
|Order Information:|| Postal: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/872/bibliographic|
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:scaman:v:17:y:2001:i:1:p:41-66. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.