Knowledge Management in Knowledge Intensive Service Networks: A Strategic Management Perspective
Knowledge is the key to gaining and sustaining competitive advantage. Driven by a change in consumer needs towards “comprehensive service solutions”, more and more services are offered through networks. By so doing, individual firms can concentrate on their distinctive competencies and by combining these with those of partner firms such a network is able to offer complex, knowledge-intensive services at high quality and at reasonable prices. It is clear that the success of such knowledge intensive service networks depends strongly on the effective and efficient combination and use of the distinctive competencies of the network partners. That ability to combine and use distinctive competencies represents the core competency of the network as a whole. Understanding knowledge as a key resource for those distinctive competencies the combination problem can be seen as a knowledge management problem. The main contribution of this paper is to analyze knowledge management in service networks. We use a strategic management approach instead of a more technology-oriented approach since we believe that managerial problems still remain after technological problems have been solved. Therefore the question arises how to guarantee an effective and efficient combination and utilization of the distributed knowledge in knowledge-intensive service networks. The objective of this paper is to analyze the problems concerning the management of knowledge in service networks. It outlines possible solutions for these knowledge management problems in order to provide sustaining competitive advantage for the network as a whole.
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