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On and off the beaten path: How individuals broker knowledge through formal and informal networks

Listed author(s):
  • Aalbers, R.
  • Dolfsma, W.A.
  • Koppius, O.R.

Although informal networks are often emphasized as facilitating knowledge transfer, we use network data obtained from a multi-unit high-tech firm to show that the formal network also significantly contributes to inter-unit knowledge transfer. Individuals centrally placed in a network are, in addition, more involved in knowledge transfer, especially, the evidence suggests, in the case of the formal network. Focusing on the brokerage roles that individual fulfill, we find that knowledge transfer between units is more likely to occur through externally oriented brokers than internally oriented brokers in the formal network, but not in the informal network. Overall, the results show that there is more than one path to transfer knowledge.

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Paper provided by Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam in its series ERIM Report Series Research in Management with number ERS-2004-066-LIS/ORG.

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Date of creation: 31 Aug 2004
Handle: RePEc:ems:eureri:1549
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RSM Erasmus University & Erasmus School of Economics, PoBox 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam

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Fax: 31-10-408 9020
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