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