Different knowledge use because of variations in knowledge-base structure

[Deutscher Titel: Unterschiedliche Wissensnutzung aufgrund verschiedener Struktur der Wissensbasis (Text übersetzen: Deutsch)]

Sai Yayavaram | Gautam Ahuja
Decomposability in Knowledge Structures and Its Impact on the Usefulness of Inventions and Knowledge-base Malleability
Administrative Science Quarterly, Volume: 53 | Issue: 2 | June 2008 | Page(s): 333-362

Abstract: We use patent data from the worldwide semiconductor industry from 1984 to 1994 to study the effect of the structure of organizational knowledge bases, or the patterns of coupling between their elements of technical knowledge, on the usefulness of inventions and knowledge-base malleability. We argue that organizational variations in coupling patterns between knowledge elements can be reflected in a spectrum of knowledge-base structures—varying from fully decomposable (the knowledge base is composed of distinct clusters of knowledge elements coupled together with no significant ties between clusters) through nearly decomposable (knowledge clusters are discernable but are connected through cross-cluster couplings) to non-decomposable (no knowledge clusters emerge, as the couplings are pervasively distributed)—and that organizations may differ in the way they use their knowledge because of variations in their knowledge-base structure, rather than because of differences in the knowledge elements themselves. Results show that a nearly decomposable knowledge base increases the usefulness of the inventions generated from it, as measured by patent citations, and also the knowledge base’s malleability or capacity for change.

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