International Journal of Technology Management, 41 (1-2), 2008 – interesting articles

[Deutscher Titel: International Journal of Technology Management, 41 (1-2), 2008 – interessante Artikel (Text übersetzen: Deutsch)]

International Journal of Technology Management (IJTM)
Volume 42 – Issue 1/2 – 2008

Exploration and exploitation: the interplay between knowledge and continuous innovation 20 – 35
Claudine Soosay, Paul Hyland

  • Abstract: In rapidly changing environments, organisations require dynamic capabilities to integrate, build and reconfigure resources and competencies to achieve continuous innovation. Although tangible resources are important to promoting the firm’s ability to act, capabilities fundamentally rest in the knowledge created and accumulated by the firm through human capital, organisational routines, processes, practices and norms. The exploration for new ideas, technologies and knowledge – to one side – and – on the other one – the exploitation of existing and new knowledge is essential for continuous innovation. Firms need to decide how best to allocate their scarce resources for both activities and at the same time build dynamic capabilities to keep up with changing market conditions. This in turn, is influenced by the absorptive capacity of the firm to assimilate knowledge. This paper presents a case study that investigates the sources of knowledge in an engineering firm in Australia, and how it is organised and processed. As information pervades the firm from both internal and external sources, individuals integrate knowledge using both exploration and exploitation approaches. The findings illustrate that absorptive capacity can encourage greater leverage for exploration potential leading to radical innovation; and reconfiguring exploitable knowledge for incremental improvements. This study provides an insight for managers in quest of improving knowledge strategies and continuous innovation. It also makes significant theoretical contributions to the literature through extending the concepts of absorptive capacity and how knowledge constructs capabilities for innovation.
  • Keywords: absorptive capacity; knowledge integration; dynamic capabilities; exploration; exploitation; continuous innovation; engineering firms; Australia; knowledge strategies.
  • DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2008.018058

Unlearning as a driver of sustainable change and innovation: three Australian case studies 89 – 106
Karen Becker

  • Abstract: In building an organisation’s innovation capacity, managers have to be aware of barriers to learning and have an understanding of the importance of unlearning old ways. Unlearning is emerging as an important element of change and innovation in organisations. As the pace of change continues to increase, it is clear that normal processes of forgetting and transition may not be sufficient. Two key scholars in this field have proposed models of unlearning however, little empirical research exists to further understanding of unlearning and the factors that may impact upon it. This paper reports on case study research aimed at further developing the concept of unlearning. A process model has emerged from the data that highlights inhibitors and enablers of the unlearning process. In an applied sense, the model provides managers with identifiable enablers and inhibitors of individual unlearning; issues which must then be addressed in change strategies at the organisational level.
  • Keywords: unlearning; continuous innovation; sustainable change; barriers to learning; resistance; organisational memory; organisational culture; frames of reference.
  • DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2008.018062

The influence of learning in collaborative improvement 107 – 126
Jacob Steendahl Nielsen, Harry Boer, Frank Gertsen

  • Abstract: Collaborative improvement is a purposeful inter-company interactive process that focuses on continuous incremental innovation aimed at enhancing the partnership’s overall performance. Considering that in such an environment the capability to learn jointly and individually is crucial, this paper takes a learning perspective on collaborative improvement and addresses the question: How do organisational learning and collaboration interplay and affect improvement performance? Based on an analysis of three dyads of the same Extended Manufacturing Enterprise, this paper concludes that a robust learning environment (willing and able to learn) creates operational, relational and learning outcomes – a self-reinforcing process. A weak learning environment (some willingness but limited ability to learn) creates operational outcomes but is sensitive to ‘accidents’ and thus at risk of actually producing negative relational and learning outcomes. A ‘blocked learning’ environment (no willingness to learn) may create good operational outcomes, but will not produce learning and relational outcomes. Consequently, it is doubtful if such situations are sustainable.
  • Keywords: collaborative improvement; organisational learning; performance improvement; action research; continuous innovation; extended enterprise; manufacturing enterprises; sustainable change.
  • DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2008.018063

Managing knowledge transfer as a strategic approach to competitive advantage 143 – 157
Claudine Soosay, Paul Hyland

  • Abstract: Knowledge has been recognised as a source of competitive advantage. Knowledge-based resources allow organisations to adapt products and services to the marketplace and deal with competitive challenges that enable them to compete more effectively. One factor critical to using knowledge-based resources is the ability to transfer knowledge as a dimension of the learning organisation. There are many elements that may influence whether knowledge transfer can be effectively achieved in an organisation such as leadership, problem-solving behaviours, support structures, change management capabilities, absorptive capacity and the nature of the knowledge. An existing framework was applied in a case study to explain how knowledge transfer can be managed effectively and to identify emerging issues or additional factors involved in the process. As a result, a refined framework is proposed that provides a better understanding for the effective management of knowledge transfer processes that can provide a competitive advantage.
  • Keywords: knowledge transfer; competitive advantage; case study; continuous innovation; learning organisations.
  • DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2008.018065

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