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Neither Hierarchy nor Identity: Knowledge-Governance Mechanisms and the Theory of the Firm

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  • Anna Grandori

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Abstract

Building on existing empirical research on knowledge transfer, sharing and integration in inter-firm and intra-firm relations, it is argued that there is little evidence and theoretical reason for assigning exclusive properties to internal or external organization, as such, in a knowledge-governance respect. A more micro framework is then theoretically developed, in which a portfolio of knowledge-governance mechanisms is evaluated according to two criteria: the cognitive `possibility' to sustain certain types of knowledge interchanges; and the comparative cost of the mechanism where more than one is applicable. The results of both the empirical and conceptual analyses conducted cast doubts on the possibility of having a `theory of the firm,' based on the deterministic presence/absence of certain attributes and the possession of exclusive properties – no matter if hierarchy or identity – and call for a more `continuous' (rather than `discrete') and `combinative' (rather than mutually exclusive) notion of governance forms. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Suggested Citation

  • Anna Grandori, 2001. "Neither Hierarchy nor Identity: Knowledge-Governance Mechanisms and the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 5(3), pages 381-399, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jmgtgv:v:5:y:2001:i:3:p:381-399
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1014055213456
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Luis Suarez-Villa & Ruth Rama, 1996. "Outsourcing, R&D and the Pattern of Intra-metropolitan Location: The Electronics Industries of Madrid," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 33(7), pages 1155-1197, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Minbaeva, Dana B., 2008. "HRM practices affecting extrinsic and intrinsic motivation of knowledge receivers and their effect on intra-MNC knowledge transfer," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 703-713, December.
    2. Nathalie Lazaric & Alain Raybaut, 2014. "Do incentive systems spur work motivation of inventors in high tech firms? A group-based perspective," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 135-157, January.
    3. Nicolai J. Foss & Kenneth Husted & Snejina Michailova, 2010. "Governing Knowledge Sharing in Organizations: Levels of Analysis, Governance Mechanisms, and Research Directions," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 455-482, May.
    4. Cacciatori, Eugenia, 2008. "Memory objects in project environments: Storing, retrieving and adapting learning in project-based firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(9), pages 1591-1601, October.
    5. Lars Lindkvist, 2004. "Governing Project-based Firms: Promoting Market-like Processes within Hierarchies," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 8(1), pages 3-25, March.
    6. Margit Osterloh & Bruno Frey, 2006. "Shareholders Should Welcome Knowledge Workers as Directors," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 10(3), pages 325-345, September.
    7. Nicolai Foss, 2006. "Knowledge and Organization in the Theory of the Multinational Corporation: Some Foundational Issues," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 10(1), pages 3-20, March.
    8. Nathalie Lazaric & Alain Raybaut, 2014. "Do incentive systems spur work motivations of inventors in high-tech firms," Post-Print halshs-00930186, HAL.
    9. Dasí, Àngels & Pedersen, Torben & Gooderham, Paul N. & Elter, Frank & Hildrum, Jarle, 2017. "The effect of organizational separation on individuals’ knowledge sharing in MNCs," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 431-446.
    10. M. Shyam Kumar, 2013. "Production knowledge and its impact on the mechanisms of governance," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 17(2), pages 261-281, May.
    11. Nicolai J. Foss, 2013. "Knowledge governance: meaning, origins and implications," Chapters,in: Handbook of Economic Organization, chapter 4 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    12. Margit Osterloh & Bruno S. Frey, "undated". "Shareholders Should Welcome Employees as Directors," CREMA Working Paper Series 2005-02, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    13. Paul Gooderham & Dana B. Minbaeva & Torben Pedersen, 2011. "Governance Mechanisms for the Promotion of Social Capital for Knowledge Transfer in Multinational Corporations," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1), pages 123-150, January.
    14. repec:bla:jageco:v:68:y:2017:i:1:p:249-268 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Patriotta, Gerardo & Castellano, Anna & Wright, Mike, 2013. "Coordinating knowledge transfer: Global managers as higher-level intermediaries," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 515-526.
    16. Karim R. Lakhani & Hila Lifshitz-Assaf & Michael L. Tushman, 2013. "Open innovation and organizational boundaries: task decomposition, knowledge distribution and the locus of innovation," Chapters,in: Handbook of Economic Organization, chapter 19 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    17. repec:wsi:ijitmx:v:14:y:2017:i:05:n:s0219877017500274 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Raab, Katharina J. & Ambos, Björn & Tallman, Stephen, 2014. "Strong or invisible hands? – Managerial involvement in the knowledge sharing process of globally dispersed knowledge groups," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 32-41.

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