Knowledge sharing has a strong effect on the success of the born globals. The objective of the chapter is to create a better understanding of the impact of knowledge sharing in the value network of born globals. The study builds on co-opetitive theory, which has its underpinnings in the cooperative game theory. The present study is based on 51 interviews within 31 companies that have participated in a technology program financed by an agency funding technology and innovation development. All the companies were small or medium-sized. In the study, correlations between having discussions with various stakeholders are analyzed. The tentative empirical results are in line with the essential nature of co-opetitive relationships in which various actors engage in knowledge sharing regardless of whether they are competing or not.
The present chapter focuses on knowledge sharing in technology-intensive value networks of born global high-technology companies. Knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer have an effect on the success of the born globals (Levy, Loebbecke and Powell, 2003). In any value network, knowledge sharing with the partners is typical (Dyer and Nobeoka, 2000). However, it is very difficult to say which companies or other actors are not partners of a company. Competitors typically cooperate to standardize technologies but compete in other functions of the same business. For example, the GSM mobile technology standardization alliance consisted of such companies as Nokia, Siemens and Ericsson. These companies were fierce competitors in the GSM business as soon as the common GSM standard was approved.
Knowledge has two very different components: tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge. Tacit knowledge means such knowledge as skills, capabilities and feelings. Tacit knowledge is difficult to communicate and share. Explicit knowledge means measurable knowledge such as numeric data. (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995) The knowledge sharing literature defines knowledge sharing as an internal feature of a company (Adenfelt and Lagerström, 2006; Hansen, 1999; Makela, Kalla, and Piekkari, 2007). An important and common reason for limited knowledge sharing is that there is lack of trust among network partners (Abrams et al, 2003; Li, 2005; Ariño, Torre, and Ring, 2001). Knowledge transfer is a term the meaning of which is similar to the meaning of the term knowledge sharing. However, knowledge transfer has a wider meaning, which includes, in addition, for example the transfer of patents (Agrawal and Henderson, 2002).