The interaction between knowledge codification and knowledge-sharing networks

De Liu, Gautam Ray, Andrew B. Whinston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Current knowledge management (KM) technologies and strategies advocate two different approaches: knowledge codification and knowledge-sharing networks. However, the extant literature has paid limited attention to the interaction between them. This research draws on the literature on formal modeling of networks to examine the interaction between knowledge codification and knowledge-sharing networks. The analysis suggests that an increase in codification may damage existing network-sharing ties. Anticipating that, individuals may hoard their knowledge to protect their network ties, even when there are nontrivial rewards for codification. We find that despite the aforementioned tension between the codification and the network approach, a firm may still benefit from combining the two approaches. Specifically, when the future sharing potential between knowledge workers is high, a combination of the two approaches may outperform a codification-only or a network-only approach because the codification reward causes fewer network ties to break down, and the benefit from increased codification can offset the loss of some network ties. However, when the future sharing potential is low, an increase in codification reward can quickly break down the whole network. Thus, firms may be better off by pursuing a codification-only or a network-only strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)892-906
Number of pages15
JournalInformation Systems Research
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2010

Keywords

  • Codification
  • Knowledge management
  • Knowledge-sharing network
  • Sharing potential

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