• Coordinating knowlegde creation in multidisciplinary teams: Evidence from early-stage drug discovery

      Ben-Menahem, Shiko; von Krogh, Georg; Erden, Zeynep; Schneider, Andreas (Academy of Management Journal, 2015)
      Based on a multi-year field study of early-stage drug discovery project teams at a global pharmaceutical company, this paper examines how multidisciplinary teams engaged in knowledge creation combine formal and informal coordination mechanisms when faced with unpredictable interdependencies among specialists’ knowledge domains. While multidisciplinary teams are critical for knowledge creation in increasingly specialized work environments, the coordination literature has been divided with respect to the extent to which such teams rely on formal coordination structures and informal coordination practices. Our findings show that when interdependencies among knowledge domains are dynamic and unpredictable, specialists design self-managed (sub-)teams around collectively held assumptions about interdependencies based on incomplete information (conjectural interdependencies). These team structures establish the grounds for informal coordination practices that enable specialists to both manage known interdependencies and reveal new interdependencies. Newly revealed interdependencies among knowledge domains, in turn, promote structural adaptation. Drawing on these findings, we advance an integrative model explaining how team-based knowledge creation relies on the mutual constitution of formal coordination structures and informal coordination practices. The model contributes to theory on organizational design and practice-based research on coordination in cross-disciplinary knowledge creation.
    • Knowledge management with focus on the innovation process in collaborative networking companies

      Inganäs, Martin; Hacklin, Fredrik; Pluss, Adrian; Marxt, Christian (International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations, 2006)
      Knowledge lies at the very heart of innovation. A company's ability to create, store and transfer knowledge about technologies, customer needs and the innovation process itself may well determine success in bringing new products or services to the market. Yet, little is known as to how companies treat these issues in practice. This paper presents the results of a research project assessing practices and challenges for innovation-oriented knowledge management within four global technology-based companies in Switzerland. Results are discussed from both company-internal and external network perspectives. For company-internal knowledge management, broad differences in terms of both practices and challenges were found between the companies mainly because of different ways of implementing the innovation process and very different company cultures. Common issues included poor implementation of post-project reviews as well as a need for better integrating market and customer knowledge into all stages of the innovation process. For the external perspective, a more homogenous picture emerged where companies network with different partners throughout the innovation process and where knowledge creation and transfer were substantially greater for long-term partnerships.