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Empirical evidence regarding the tension between knowledge sharing and knowledge expropriation in collaborations

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  • Bruce A. Heiman

    (College of Business, San Francisco State University, USA)

  • Jack A. Nickerson

    (Olin School of Business, Washington University in St. Louis, USA)

Abstract

Interfirm collaborations can raise a fundamental dilemma. To create value, collaborators may have to adopt a variety of practices to facilitate knowledge transfer. Deploying these practices may increase the likelihood that economically valuable knowledge, which is (1) beyond the scope of the collaboration, and (2) difficult to legally protect, is expropriated. How can firms manage this dilemma? The purpose of this paper is to empirically examine the veracity of a chain of propositions addressing this dilemma based on a novel joint knowledge-based view|transaction cost economics framework. A plausible chain of relationships is briefly summarized and explored in detail empirically using unrelated datasets. The chain links two knowledge-based attributes of collaboration-knowledge tacitness and problem-solving complexity-to the use of knowledge management practices-high-bandwidth communication channels and co-specialized communication codes. These practices are economic responses to knowledge-sharing difficulties as measured by tacitness and complexity. Increasing knowledge transparency via knowledge management practices, however, gives rise to opportunism hazards, which are safeguarded against via economizing governance choice. Our empirical effort examines the effects that two knowledge attributes of collaborations have on governance choice, first directly and then indirectly through the intervening linkages. Empirical results from both datasets indicate substantial support for the proposed chain of relationships. The results are provocative in that they offer the first preliminary evidence for a plausible reconciliation of two perspectives previously treated exclusively as adversaries. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce A. Heiman & Jack A. Nickerson, 2004. "Empirical evidence regarding the tension between knowledge sharing and knowledge expropriation in collaborations," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(6-7), pages 401-420.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:mgtdec:v:25:y:2004:i:6-7:p:401-420
    DOI: 10.1002/mde.1198
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    Cited by:

    1. Bonte, Werner & Keilbach, Max, 2005. "Concubinage or marriage? Informal and formal cooperations for innovation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(3-4), pages 279-302, April.
    2. Narula, Rajneesh & Santangelo, Grazia D., 2007. "Location and R&D alliances in the European ICT industry," MERIT Working Papers 008, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    3. repec:spr:binfse:v:60:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s12599-017-0514-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Belderbos, René & Cassiman, Bruno & Faems, Dries & Leten, Bart & Van Looy, Bart, 2014. "Co-ownership of intellectual property: Exploring the value-appropriation and value-creation implications of co-patenting with different partners," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(5), pages 841-852.
    5. 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.
    6. Li, Dan, 2013. "Multilateral R&D alliances by new ventures," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 241-260.
    7. Paul H. Jensen & Elizabeth Webster, 2006. "Managing Knowledge Flows through Appropriation and Learning Strategies," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2006n06, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    8. repec:rdg:wpaper:em-dp2007-43 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Nickerson, Jack A. & Yen, C. James & Mahoney, Joseph T., 2011. "Exploring the Problem-Finding and Problem-Solving Approach for Designing Organizations," Working Papers 11-0107, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business.
    10. repec:bla:stratm:v:38:y:2017:i:9:p:1791-1811 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Xu, Shichun & Fenik, Anton P. & Shaner, Matthew B., 2014. "Multilateral alliances and innovation output: The importance of equity and technological scope," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 67(11), pages 2403-2410.
    12. Pia Hurmelinna-Laukkanen & Mika Vanhala & Heidi Olander, 2016. "Appropriability Profiles – Different Actors, Different Outcomes," International Journal of Innovation Management (ijim), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 20(08), pages 1-26, December.
    13. Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, Pia & Olander, Heidi & Blomqvist, Kirsimarja & Panfilii, Victoria, 2012. "Orchestrating R&D networks: Absorptive capacity, network stability, and innovation appropriability," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 552-563.
    14. Li, Jiatao & Li, Peixin & Wang, Baolian, 2016. "Do cross-border acquisitions create value? Evidence from overseas acquisitions by Chinese firms," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 471-483.
    15. Laursen, Keld & Salter, Ammon J., 2014. "The paradox of openness: Appropriability, external search and collaboration," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(5), pages 867-878.
    16. Mourad Hannachi & Francois-Christophe Coleno, 2016. "Towards a managerial engineering of coopetition," Post-Print hal-01242333, HAL.
    17. Chander Velu, 2015. "Knowledge management capabilities of lead firms in innovation ecosystems," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer;Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), vol. 5(3), pages 123-141, December.
    18. Hansen, Zeynep & Higgins, Matthew, 2007. "The Effect of Contractual Complexity on Technology Sourcing Agreements," MPRA Paper 4979, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. repec:spr:amsrev:v:5:y:2015:i:3:d:10.1007_s13162-015-0068-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Müller, Dirk, 2010. "Alliance Coordination, Dysfunctions, and the Protection of Idiosyncratic Knowledge in Strategic Learning Alliances," EconStor Preprints 41039, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    21. Che Rusuli & R. Tasmin & J. Takala & H. Norazlin & K. Phusavat & J. Walsh & Raja Abdullah Yaacob, 2013. "Relationship Between Knowledge Management Practices And Library Users’ Satisfaction: A Preliminary Result of Malaysian University Libraries," Diversity, Technology, and Innovation for Operational Competitiveness: Proceedings of the 2013 International Conference on Technology Innovation and Industrial Management, ToKnowPress.
    22. Narula, Rajneesh & Santangelo, Grazia D., 2009. "Location, collocation and R&D alliances in the European ICT industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 393-403, March.
    23. Steven Dahlquist & David Griffith, 2015. "A framework for the formation of governance portfolios in international interfirm marketing collaborations," Business & Information Systems Engineering: The International Journal of WIRTSCHAFTSINFORMATIK, Springer;Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. (GI), vol. 5(1), pages 45-59, June.
    24. Anupama Phene & Stephen Tallman, 2014. "Knowledge Spillovers and Alliance Formation," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(7), pages 1058-1090, November.
    25. repec:spr:amsrev:v:5:y:2015:i:1:d:10.1007_s13162-015-0065-9 is not listed on IDEAS

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