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Keeping Organizational Secrets: Protective Institutional Mechanisms and Their Costs

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  • Liebeskind, Julia Porter

Abstract

The notion that firms generate rents from proprietary knowledge is widely accepted. However, the mechanisms that firms, as institutions, can differentially deploy to protect their knowledge form appropriation by rivals are not well understood. This paper examines three broad classes of 'protective mechanisms' that firms coon deploy to keep their knowledge secret: rules, compensation schemes, and structural isolation. The paper concludes that keeping organizational secrets through the deployment of protective mechanisms is both difficult and costly. Economizing considerations can therefore be expected to bear strongly on this aspect of firm organization. Copyright 1997 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Liebeskind, Julia Porter, 1997. "Keeping Organizational Secrets: Protective Institutional Mechanisms and Their Costs," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(3), pages 623-663, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:6:y:1997:i:3:p:623-63
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