Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to provide the results from empirically testing the effects of different combinations of organizational forms and combinative capabilities on the efficiency, scope and flexibility of firm-level knowledge integration, given the influence of knowledge types and forms. Design/methodology/approach: The research is based on a case-study methodology employed to collect data from ten firms of low, medium and high knowledge complexity environs; manual and automated data mining techniques were employed. Findings: The findings suggest that organizational form and combinative capabilities explain the effects of efficiency, scope and flexibility on firm-level knowledge integration. In turn, differences in knowledge types and forms necessitate the use of secondary combinative capabilities. Research limitations/implications: While the study provides a coherent and detailed understanding of firm-level knowledge integration and explain the development of a firm’s knowledge architecture through organizational structures and synthesize existing literature contributing to an emergent understanding of the ambiguities surrounding combinative capabilities, further research identifying the effects of and relationship with the deep knowledge in combinative capabilities on strategic capabilities and a firm’s knowledge vision would be beneficial. Practical implications: Of practical relevance is the strategic and operational management implications detailing the specific organizational structures to achieve desired firm-level knowledge integration capacity and manage particular integration efficiency, scope and flexibility requirements to enhance the development of architectural knowledge and, thus, firm capabilities. Originality/value: The original contribution of this paper is reflected in providing empiric and theoretic insights, which directly address the specific combinations of organizational structures that influence integration process characteristics and thus accommodate differences in knowledge types and forms.
Journal of Knowledge Management Vol. 10, Issue 4, p. 43-58