Structural social capital and innovation. Is knowledge transfer the missing link?
September 2, 2014 Editor 0
Purpose – Individuals and organisations are becoming increasingly involved in collaboration networks to share knowledge and generate innovation. Social Capital (SC) Theory has been adopted in several areas of study to explain how individuals, groups, and organisations manage relationships to generate innovation. However, to date no systematic review has been carried out on the role that structural social capital plays for knowledge transfer and innovation at the interpersonal, inter-unit, and inter-firm levels and therefore the aim of this study is to address this gap.Design/methodology/approach – This review covers studies of social capital in organisational behaviour, strategy, and management over a period of 20 years. Findings – The literature review shows that knowledge types and knowledge transfer processes are the missing links in the relationship between structural social capital and innovation. Moreover, the paper demonstrates that seemingly opposite configurations of social capital are complementary to each other (structural holes vs. dense networks, strong vs. weak ties) and that contextual factors should be considered when discussing the effects of social capital on knowledge transfer and innovation. In addition, it is the balance of different configurations of social capital which enables an individual or a company to explore, access, assimilate, and combine different knowledge types, which will lead to improved innovation outcomes.Originality/value – This review facilitates understanding of the role of social capital for knowledge transfer processes and the mediating role of knowledge transfer processes and knowledge types in the relationship between structural social capital and innovation.
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Categories: Knowledge Management
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