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Geography, Networks, and Knowledge Flow

Author

Listed:
  • Geoffrey G. Bell

    () (Labovitz School of Business and Economics, University of Minnesota Duluth, 110 SBE, 412 Library Drive, Duluth, Minnesota 55812)

  • Akbar Zaheer

    () (Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, 3-365 CarlSMgmt, 321 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455)

Abstract

Knowledge---which is closely linked to firm innovativeness---is accessed across organizational boundaries and geographic space via networks operating at different levels of analysis. However, we know tantalizingly little about the comparative influence of geography on knowledge flow across organizational boundaries over different types of ties, despite warnings that research needs to account for the geographic context of ties to fully understand causal relationships. Using a combination of primary and secondary data on 77 Canadian mutual fund companies, we find that institutional-level ties are valuable in knowledge transmission only when such ties are geographically proximate. Organization-level ties fail to act as transmitters of knowledge, regardless of geographic location. Interestingly, we find that geographically distant individual-level friendship ties are superior conduits for knowledge flow, which suggests they span “geographic holes.”

Suggested Citation

  • Geoffrey G. Bell & Akbar Zaheer, 2007. "Geography, Networks, and Knowledge Flow," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 18(6), pages 955-972, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ororsc:v:18:y:2007:i:6:p:955-972
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/orsc.1070.0308
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gautam Ahuja & Giuseppe Soda & Akbar Zaheer, 2012. "The Genesis and Dynamics of Organizational Networks," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 23(2), pages 434-448, April.
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    3. repec:eee:techno:v:64-65:y:2017:i::p:16-27 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. René Belderbos & Helen S. Du & Anthony Goerzen, 2017. "Global Cities, Connectivity, and the Location Choice of MNC Regional Headquarters," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(8), pages 1271-1302, December.
    5. Joseph T. Mahoney & Anita M. McGahan & Christos N. Pitelis, 2009. "Perspective ---The Interdependence of Private and Public Interests," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 20(6), pages 1034-1052, December.
    6. repec:spr:scient:v:94:y:2013:i:1:d:10.1007_s11192-012-0715-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Lazzeretti, Luciana & Capone, Francesco, 2016. "How proximity matters in innovation networks dynamics along the cluster evolution. A study of the high technology applied to cultural goods," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(12), pages 5855-5865.
    8. repec:bla:obuest:v:79:y:2017:i:2:p:205-233 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Contractor, Farok & Yang, Yong & Gaur, Ajai S., 2016. "Firm-specific intangible assets and subsidiary profitability: The moderating role of distance, ownership strategy and subsidiary experience," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 51(6), pages 950-964.
    10. Bastien Bernela & Marie Ferru & Marc-Hubert Depret, 2017. "When genesis shapes cluster life cycle? Applying mixed method on a French cluster case study," Working Papers halshs-01616929, HAL.
    11. Anil K. Gupta & Paul E. Tesluk & M. Susan Taylor, 2007. "Innovation At and Across Multiple Levels of Analysis," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 18(6), pages 885-897, December.
    12. Muammer Ozer & Wen Zhang, 2015. "The effects of geographic and network ties on exploitative and exploratory product innovation," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(7), pages 1105-1114, July.
    13. F. Xavier Molina-Morales & Josep Capó-Vicedo & M. Teresa Martínez-Fernández & Manuel Expósito-Langa, 2013. "Social capital in industrial districts: Influence of the strength of ties and density of the network on the sense of belonging to the district," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 92(4), pages 773-789, November.
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    16. Keld Laursen & Francesca Masciarelli & Andrea Prencipe, 2012. "Regions Matter: How Localized Social Capital Affects Innovation and External Knowledge Acquisition," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 23(1), pages 177-193, February.
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