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Responsabile del progetto all'USI: Gianluca Carnabuci
Data di inizio: 1 Ottobre 2009
Durata: 24 mesi
The goal of this research project is to better understand the organizational antecedents of firms´ innovative performance. To achieve this goal, we aim to integrate two well-established theoretical perspectives in the field of organization theory and design, which offer useful and complementary explanations of the innovation process at the firm level. One perspective views the firm as a collaboration network through which tasks get accomplished (e.g., Galbraith, 1977); the other perspective describes the firm as a complex problem-solving system characterized by a limited and distinctive knowledge base (e.g., Grant, 1996a). Although their theoretical complementarities have been widely acknowledged (e.g., Brusoni, Prencipe and Pavitt, 2001), thus far the network approach and the knowledge-based perspective have developed into almost entirely unconnected lines of inquiry. Accordingly, very little research has been carried out to explain how a firm´s collaboration structure and knowledge base jointly affect the innovative process. To start addressing this gap, we will carry out four sub-projects elaborating and empirically testing hypotheses concerning the relation and interaction of a firm´s collaboration network and knowledge base: (i) Analyzing the interaction of firms´ internal collaboration structure and knowledge base heterogeneity on firm innovativeness (ii) Does brokering "structural holes" through a firm´s external collaboration network require a dense collaboration network inside the firm? (iii) The organizational antecedents of knowledge base "malleability" (iv) The importance of "malleable" knowledge bases for different forms of innovation (e.g., incremental innovation Vs. radical innovation). The results of the study promise to improve our understanding of why some firms are more innovative than others. We think that our study may in particular contribute to the field of organizational design, a field which is receiving revived scholarly attention (as is witnessed, among other things, by the special issues announced by some of the top management journals for the years 2009 and 2010). Our study also promises to yield practical implications that may be of interest to a variety of decision makers, in particular managers
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