Knowledge Integration through Strategic Alliances and Virtual Networks

Knowledge Integration through Strategic Alliances and Virtual Networks

César Camisón (Universitat Jaume I, Spain), Beatriz Forés (Universitat Jaume I, Spain) and María Eugenia Fabra (Universitat Jaume I, Spain)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-931-1.ch057


According to the Knowledge-Based View, knowledge integration is one of the main capabilities that organizations must possess in today’s markets. In some high-tech industries, especially sciencebased industries such as biotechnology that need to integrate different bases of specialized expertise, the sources of knowledge are spread across a great variety of organizations. Strategic alliances are an option that may solve problems of speed or cost in these cases. Hence, in this chapter we identify advantages that inter-organizational cooperative agreements may have in the creation of knowledge, with a special emphasis on the case of strategic alliances in which the main aim is the joint creation of knowledge between partners and not simply the appropriation of this knowledge by one of the members of the agreement. In a second phase, we argue that virtual networks add more advantages to this type of alliance because of their special features. We define the virtual network as a strategic, temporary agreement between organizations that collaborate and coordinate their work through information technologies. This dimension adds greater flexibility to strategic alliances. We identify a virtual network typology by analyzing their properties and their value for the integration of knowledge.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Virtual Networks: Can be considered as a strategic virtual community, consisting of independent enterprises that come together swiftly to exploit a market opportunity and to share and create knowledge.

Virtual Communities: Are online social networks in which individuals or organizations with common interests and values interact to share and create knowledge and engage in social interactions.

Knowledge Integration: One of the most critical elements in the knowledge creation process. It consists of developing and refining the internal routines that facilitate the transfer and combination of previous knowledge with the newly acquired knowledge. Its main objective is to establish how to adapt the new knowledge to the reality and needs of the organization.

Absorptive capacity: The capacity of a firm to value, assimilate, transform and apply knowledge from external sources for commercial ends.

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs): Are associated with tools that encourage employees to directly share knowledge and to contextualize and analyze information. They also are described as the tools that allow more flexible and extensive inter-organizational relationships.

Strategic Alliance: A formal relationship formed between two or more independent parties to reach a set of agreed goals or to meet a critical business need.

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