Patents and Logocentric Differences: Protecting the Competitive Advantage

Patents and Logocentric Differences: Protecting the Competitive Advantage

Mambo Mupepi (Seidman College, USA), Robert Frey (Seidman College, USA) and Jaideep Motwani (Seidman College, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1961-4.ch008
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The discussion progressed in this chapter is about the protection of organizational knowledge in competitive environments. Knowledge can leak in the value creation networks embedded in knowledge-intensive firms, and a collaborative approach can be utilized to minimize risk and increase sustainability. For knowledge to be preserved from unintentional outflow, its confidential nature and description must be understood at all levels. Loss of knowledge can occur at any point; whether it is through the process of consultation or when employees do their work. Forfeiture of information can be unintended or a planned effort. To prevent such unintended leakage, it is important to develop a shared mindset among employees to minimize the risk. The socio-technical system is a philosophical framework that enables companies to simultaneously consider both ethical and technical systems in order to best match the technology and the people involved. In this paper we show how the socio-technical system can be applied to prevent knowledge leakage.
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Explanation of Some of the Key Terms

In defining the term “epistemology,” we draw from Armstrong (1989), and Lehrer (2000), among many others. Epistemology is the study of all types of knowledge such as tacit knowledge which is derived from experience. Armstrong (1989) posits that the theory on knowing can be divided into segments to make sense in learning and organization. It is these segments that are of interest in building effective talent in organization. Armstrong (1989) propounds that the knowledge expedient in a business can also be separated by subject to understand its expediency. It is then important to recognize what stakeholders imply when they say someone knows or fails to know. If this type of knowing leaks to the competition what does that also mean? Arguments projected by Prahalad & Hamel (1990) designate that companies compete on what they know best. Their best foot forward is dependent on the intellectual assets of the business. If those chattels are compromised the business could lose its livelihood. In the knowledge-intensive firms an epistemic community can be created composed of the experts in the organization. Its purpose will be to generate a pragmatic nuts-and-bolts competence that will help the organization to design innovative practices to make differentiation real.

Figure 1.

A business model of the value creation system (Mupepi, 2016)

In the second definition of knowledge, Armstrong suggests that tacit knowledge derived from the collective experience of the people doing the job, can be put into context in the value creation process (see Figure 1). In this debate an epistemic community or community of practice (COP) are defined as groups of individuals who collaborate on many fronts to advance productivity. It can be the role of the COP to contextualize tacit knowledge and turn it into explicit knowledge. The COP can be situated in areas where goods demanded by customers are made. When an order is received, it follows a process in which each man has a defined role to play. The COP can analyze the job description and the job specifiocation to understand many things including tooling and equipment requirements in the business model (see Figure 1). They can also understand the skillfulness and technology required in making certain products. By taking the socio-technical systems approach, a COP can shift the things that are often taken for granted to combine the interest of the people doing the job and the business. The socio-technical systems (STSD) approaches have strong roots in collaboration in the value creation processes in organization (Eijnatten, 1993).

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