Knowledge management in international networks

A.P. Man, de

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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 networks? - 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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe design of an innovation enhancing environment
PublisherTransforum Agro & Groen
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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NameWorking Papers Transforum Agro & Groen


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