Leading Firms as Knowledge Gatekeepers in a Networked Environment

Leading Firms as Knowledge Gatekeepers in a Networked Environment

Deogratias Harorimana (Southampton Solent University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-816-1.ch013
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Abstract

This chapter introduces the role of the knowledge gatekeeper as a mechanism by which knowledge is created and transferred in a networked environment. Knowledge creation and transfer are essential for building a knowledge-based economy. The chapter considers obstacles that inhibit this process and argues that leading firms create a shared sociocultural context that enables the condivision of tacit meanings and codification of knowledge. Leading firms act as gatekeepers of knowledge through the creation of shared virtual platforms. There will be a leading firm that connects several networks of clients and suppliers who may not interact directly with one another, but are, indeed, connected indirectly though the leading firm that acts as a gatekeeper. The chapter argues that a large firm connecting several clients and suppliers at the multinational level represents a gatekeeper, but even individuals and focal firms in industrial districts can be gatekeepers. The author hopes that, through this discussion, academics, researchers, and doctoral students will have a comprehensive theoretical and practical basis on which to study the role of leading firms in building innovations and virtual teams of knowledge sharing in a highly networked and competitive environment.

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