Antecedents and consequences of inter-organizational knowledge transfer: emerging themes and openings for further research
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to provide a critical review of the current body of research on inter‐organizational knowledge transfer, indicating some of its limitations and openings for future studies. It maps research in an integrative framework of knowledge‐specific, organizational and network‐level antecedents and performance outcomes of transfer. When assuming that transfer of knowledge does not by itself influence organizational performance, this study gives special attention to a mediating role of knowledge acquisition in relationship between antecedents and performance outcomes of transfer. Design/methodology/approach In this conceptual paper the author consolidates, annotates and critiques existing research on antecedents and consequences of inter‐firm knowledge transfer. The author reveals limitations of the current body of literature and provides directions for future research. Findings This paper points to the underestimated role of knowledge acquisition in conceptual models of inter‐firm knowledge transfer. The author suggests that the extent, type and nature of “new knowledge learned” mediate the relationship between various antecedents of transfer and financial, product/market and strategic performance of firms. Related to this, the study calls future research to analyze knowledge transfer as a two‐stage process that involves acquisition of knowledge and its exploitation. Originality/value Although research on inter‐organizational knowledge transfer is burgeoning, yet our understanding of its antecedents and consequences remains unclear. As a first step to filling this gap, this study provides a comprehensive literature review, reveals its limitations and suggests meaningful directions for further research. It points to high explanatory value of theoretical frameworks that examine linkages between antecedents of transfer, learning outcomes and firm performance results.
This is the author’s final, accepted and refereed manuscript to the article.