Knowledge Accumulation and Reuse for Spinning off Firms from Learning Organizations: An Individual Knowledge Based Perspective

Knowledge Accumulation and Reuse for Spinning off Firms from Learning Organizations: An Individual Knowledge Based Perspective

Maria Rosaria Della Peruta (Second University of Naples, Caserta, Italy) and Manlio Del Giudice (Second University of Naples, Caserta, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/ijsesd.2013100102
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Abstract

The past years have seen a remarkable increase in knowledge based start-ups. In Europe, as in the USA, the debate over the role of universities and firms as knowledge clusters and as sources of new spin-off companies has intensified since the publication of recent reports. Giving the inadequacy of the classic patterns to exploit and transfer many knowledge assets, our study looked at the spin off processes from learning organizations as a way to transfer them for stimulating new entrepreneurship (i.e., in a perspective of reusing the knowledge previously accumulated). The authors’ research showed that academic and corporate spin offs are differently influenced by the knowledge accumulated in the contexts of origin. The authors also discuss some managerial implications of the proposed model.
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2. The Reuse Of The Knowledge “Not Shared” Within The Learning Organizations

Management literature has widely stressed that the performance of an organization depend on the type of knowledge and from the context where knowledge is produced (Hamel & Prahalad, 1991; Carayannis & Wang, 2012). Industrialization, for instance, requires more knowledge codification, which supports the repetitiveness and standardization of production processes as well as more efficient and effective control systems of the production activities, especially in terms of quality and costs. Then organisational learning can be interpreted as a process by which a “learning” organization, in which knowledge is accumulated for the effect of group interactions, creates its own set of new knowledge assets (Nonaka, 1991, 1994; Nicotra et al., 2013).

Organisational learning is mainly considered, in the managerial and psychological literature, as an organisational experimentation process based on the creative use of both direct and indirect experience of individuals (Weick, 1993). Thus organizational learning is strictly related to individual learning, as well (Kim, 1993). Then, when new knowledge is developed by individuals it should be disseminated and shared with the whole working community (Kolb, 1984; Del Giudice & Straub, 2011).

In reality there are many cases in which knowledge, particularly the tacit one, is not shared by the individuals with the rest of the organization. Sometimes it simply happens that people do not want to share it with the others (Garvin, 1993); but, in some other cases, numerous studies have demonstrated the inherent difficulty of transferring that kind of knowledge by separating it from the individuals who hold it (Senge, 1992; Goh, 1998). Moreover, just very few studies have pointed on what happens when this knowledge is retained by the individuals which did not share it with their working environment (Mabey & Salaman, 1995; Dovey, 1997).

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