Network Structure and Inter-Organizational Knowledge Sharing Capability

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Network Structure and Inter-organizational Knowledge Sharing Capability
ABSTRACT This paper examines how the structure of a supply network can affect the inter-organizational knowledge sharing capability, which is expressed by absorptive capacity and shared identity. The supply network structure is analyzed by two dimensions – formality and centrality. Propositions about the relationships between network structure and knowledge sharing capability are suggested at the end. Subject Areas: Supply chain management, Inter-organizational knowledge sharing, Absorptive capacity, Shared identity, Network structure.

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1. INTRODUCTION Historically, individual organizations have tried to improve their own performance in an effort to gain competitive advantage. Today, the success of an individual organization depends largely on the performance of its suppliers and customers [1]. Consequently, supply chain or supply network management is one of the critical success factors in today’s marketplace [2]. As organizations increasingly connect with and rely on partners and suppliers in their supply networks, interdependencies among these organizations naturally increase. This increase, in turn, makes today’s supply networks more complex [3], and members of such complex supply networks face many sources of uncertainties – internal as well as external1. Fisher [4] argues that the strategy of the supply network – lean vs. responsive – should be aligned with the product types – functional vs. innovative, which is classified mainly through the uncertainties emanating from the demand (external) side. Later, Lee [2] enhanced Fisher’s framework by incorporating the uncertainties emanating from the supply side. Both Fisher and Lee agree that uncertainty in the supply chain has negative effects – and therefore uncertainty should be mitigated where possible. Information and knowledge…...

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