Networks and knowledge are intimately connected. Networks are believed to be innovative
because of the smooth transfer, combination and creation of knowledge that can take place
in them. Interestingly however, knowledge management research has hardly studied knowledge
management techniques in networks. This despite the fact that knowledge does not flow
through a network automatically. Knowledge flows more easily within a firm than across its
boundaries. In international networks the problems connected to knowledge flows are even
bigger: knowledge has to cross boundaries of time, space and culture.
To create innovative international networks it is therefore imperative to implement adequate
knowledge management systems and processes. They should be aimed at alleviating the barriers to the flow of knowledge that exist in networks. Without them it is unlikely that a sustainable competitive network can exist.
As Dutch agriculture is increasingly setting up international networks, knowledge management
is important for the Dutch agrifood. Relevant questions are:
- How can knowledge from diverse locations across the world flow to Dutch companies for
them to build up a competitive advantage?
- How should Dutch agricultural firms exploit their knowledge effectively in their international
- Is it possible to create knowledge in The Netherlands without having primary production
within the country (as the idea of Nederland Kennisland suggests)?
- Can effective knowledge management in international networks replace the proximity effect
(knowledge flows faster within a region than across regions)?
This paper reviews the existing literature on knowledge management in networks. It proposes
a framework to study knowledge management, which assumes that the effectiveness of different
types of knowledge management depends on the type of network and the nature of knowledge in that network. Avenues for further research in this area are sketched.
|Title of host publication||The design of an innovation enhancing environment|
|Publisher||Transforum Agro & Groen|
|Number of pages||17|
|Publication status||Published - 2006|
|Name||Working Papers Transforum Agro & Groen|