The Role of Ambiguity in the Transfer of Knowledge within Organizational Networks

The Role of Ambiguity in the Transfer of Knowledge within Organizational Networks

Jennifer Priestley (Kennesaw State University, USA) and Subhashish Samaddar (Georgia State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-165-0.ch009
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Abstract

Organizations join multi-organizational networks in part to mitigate environmental uncertainties and to access knowledge. However, the transfer of knowledge cannot be assumed simply as a function of network membership. Researchers in the area of knowledge management have identified several factors that have been found to affect the transfer of knowledge within, between, and among organizations. This chapter investigates specifically how organizational ambiguity impacts the transfer of knowledge within multi-organizational networks. The authors explore the effects of causal ambiguity, defined as the ambiguity related to inputs and factors, in a multi-organizational context, and discuss the existence of a previously undefined ambiguity, the ambiguity related to outcomes or “outcome ambiguity.” The authors provide a discussion on why outcome ambiguity is particularly relevant when multiple organizations are engaged in a network, where the objective is access to knowledge.

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