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Re-Inventing the Wheel: Knowledge Integration in Fast-changing Environments

  • Stefano Brusoni

    (CESPRI - Bocconi University, Milan, Italy.)

  • Lorenzo Cassi

    (ADIS, Université Paris Sud.)

The aim of this paper is to look at knowledge integration as an organizational capability which leaves traces in intra-organizational networks. To do so, this paper develops a methodology to identify and capture with quantitative data the key characteristics of those organizations that integrate knowledge to solve complex problems. We rely on a two year long project which has gathered extensive qualitative evidence on the micro-level processes which led to the introduction of a radical process innovation in tire manufacturing, i.e. a robotized, modular production process. On this strength, we compare the strategies of two of the world’s leading firms (Michelin and Pirelli) engaged in the effort of developing this breakthrough technology in the 1990s. We look at the evolving structure of their intraorganizational co-inventors’ networks in order to explain the different outcomes of their strategies.

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Paper provided by KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy in its series KITeS Working Papers with number 209.

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Length: pages 29
Date of creation: Dec 2007
Date of revision: Dec 2007
Handle: RePEc:cri:cespri:wp209
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  1. Stefano Breschi & Francesco Lissoni, 2004. "Knowledge networks from patent data: Methodological issues and research targets," KITeS Working Papers 150, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Jan 2004.
  2. Linda Argote & Bill McEvily & Ray Reagans, 2003. "Managing Knowledge in Organizations: An Integrative Framework and Review of Emerging Themes," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(4), pages 571-582, April.
  3. Jasjit Singh, 2005. "Collaborative Networks as Determinants of Knowledge Diffusion Patterns," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(5), pages 756-770, May.
  4. Breschi, Stefano & Lissoni, Francesco & Malerba, Franco, 2003. "Knowledge-relatedness in firm technological diversification," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 69-87, January.
  5. repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Zvi Griliches, 1990. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 3301, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Gambardella, Alfonso & Torrisi, Salvatore, 1998. "Does technological convergence imply convergence in markets? Evidence from the electronics industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 445-463, September.
  8. Carliss Y. Baldwin & Kim B. Clark, 2000. "Design Rules, Volume 1: The Power of Modularity," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262024667, June.
  9. Gino Cattani & Alex Dorsch & Sidney G. Winter, 2007. "The Value of Moderate Obsession: Insights from a New Model of Organizational Search," LEM Papers Series 2007/03, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  10. Henderson, Rebecca., 1994. "The evolution of integrative capability : innovation in cardiovascular drug discovery," Working papers 3711-94., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  11. Stefano Breschi & Francesco Lissoni, 2003. "Mobility and Social Networks: Localised Knowledge Spillovers Revisited," KITeS Working Papers 142, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Mar 2003.
  12. Amit Das, 2003. "Knowledge and Productivity in Technical Support Work," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(4), pages 416-431, April.
  13. Fleming, Lee & Sorenson, Olav, 2001. "Technology as a complex adaptive system: evidence from patent data," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(7), pages 1019-1039, August.
  14. Sarah Kaplan & Fiona Murray & Rebecca Henderson, 2003. "Discontinuities and senior management: assessing the role of recognition in pharmaceutical firm response to biotechnology," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 203-233, April.
  15. Andrea Prencipe & Stefano Brusoni, 2005. "Making Design Rules: A Multi-Domain Perspective," SPRU Working Paper Series 136, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
  16. Argote, Linda & Ingram, Paul, 2000. "Knowledge Transfer: A Basis for Competitive Advantage in Firms," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 150-169, May.
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