The Antecedents of Organizational Knowledge-Bases

Why are there so many different types of knowledge-bases (Weick, 1991; Yayavaram and Ahuja, 2008)? Examining the literature that has developed along the six major dimensions of a knowledge-base it is natural to ask why organizations display so much variance between their knowledge bases. We next examine some of the leading organizational influences on organizational knowledge-bases.


Organizational strategies are possibly the most salient influence in shaping several of the dimensional variations in knowledge-bases. Expansion into new geographic markets (Ahuja and Katila, 2004), seeking knowledge variety by tapping into different national contexts across the world (Luo, 1999; Tsang, 2002; Lahiri, 2005; Almeida and Phene, 2004; Alcácer and Chung, 2007; Chung and Yeaple, 2008; Meyer et al., 2009), and seeking research and development efficiencies and competitive advantage by knowledge-sourcing across low cost locations (Zhao, 2006) all contribute to knowledge-base differentiation as the organization distributes its research activities across geographic space. Knowledge-base differentiation may also emerge from foreign entry by acquisitions or joint ventures (Luo, 1999; Tsang, 2002; Almeida and Phene, 2004; Meyer et al., 2009).

Similarly, search for complementary skills and scale economies drive firms to seek collaborative alliances and these in turn affect several of the knowledge-base dimensions such as its de facto size ...

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