External Knowledge Integration

External Knowledge Integration

Jeroen Kraaijenbrink (University of Twente, The Netherlands) and Fons Wijnhoven (University of Twente, The Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-933-5.ch023
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As an academic field, knowledge management has concentrated on the creation, storage, retrieval, transfer, and application of knowledge within organizations, while underexposing external knowledge (e.g., Alavi & Leidner, 2001). Although the importance of external knowledge is well recognized (e.g., Cohen & Levinthal, 1990), there remains a need for a better understanding of the organizational processes through which external knowledge is integrated (Grant, 1996; Ranft & Lord, 2002). In particular, we believe that a holistic view on knowledge integration (KI) is both important and lacking. In this article, we address this lacuna in the literature by proposing a process model of KI consisting of three stages¾identification, acquisition, and utilization of external knowledge. Our objective is to propose a model consisting of modular subprocesses that parsimoniously reflect the variety of KI concepts in the literature. This model is useful to scholars and practitioners because it provides a better understanding of the various KI subprocesses by putting them together in a coherent way. Such understanding serves as bedrock for solving KI problems and for designing KI solutions (cf. Markus, Majchrzak, & Gasser, 2002).

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