When Stakes are High and Guards are Low: High-Quality Connections in Knowledge Creation
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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- Scientific articles 
Original versionKnowledge and Process Management 2015 Vol. 22 (2) pp. 88-98 10.1002/kpm.1469
We provide a first qualitative empirical investigation of the dynamics of high-quality connections in organizational knowledge creation through a comparative analysis of two organizations involved in management consulting and oil exploration. The study combines approaches from positive organizational scholarship with practice-based studies. We found three types of positively deviant practices for knowledge creation where high-quality connections play a major role: (i) Intensifying collaboration is a response to felt urgency and mutual dependency in high-stakes projects and involves expanding the types of interactions and the emotional intensity in knowledge creation. (ii) Caring questioning unfolds when inviting, open-ended and appreciative questions enable joint dwelling on problems and stimulate help-seeking and help-giving. (iii) Getting physical takes place when the making of collaborative space and use of shared visuals and artifacts enlarge the sensory-motor connectivity in knowledge creation. The paper contributes to both the literature on high-quality connections and knowledge creation, showing how the two phenomena are mutually shaping in positively deviant practice. We shed new light on knowledge creation as informal social processes emerging in daily work. Unlike previous research on high-quality connections, we show how they are first of all ignited by the pull dynamic of high-stakes projects, with caring questioning and getting physical as the fuel that keeps the fire burning.
This is the authors’ accepted, refereed and submitted manuscript to the article.