Joint 6th International Conference on Electronic Business and Research Forum to Understand Business in Knowledge Society, ICEB + eBRF 2006, Tampere, Finland, 28 November - 02 December 2006
Knowledge creation, as a salient concept in recent literature on business and strategic management, has been examined as one of the most valuable capabilities of firms. As the increasing impact of globalization and high competition challenge the firms to manage knowledge efficiently, social network ties among firms come to agenda. Network ties are beneficial in knowledge creation process since knowledge creation is a social process, in need of coordination and cooperation with partners who possess the knowledge the firm requires. Combination and exchange of knowledge is realized in social networks. The central argument in that context is which ties are more beneficial: Should firms forge strong or weak ties in their inter-organizational relations to strengthen their knowledge creation capability is the question that tried to be examined in this paper. According to weak-tie theory, distant and infrequent ties are proper since they provide novel and diverse information from disconnected actors. However, strong-tie theory provides that frequent and long-lasting relationships are more conducive to support knowledge creation since they include trust, reciprocity and willingness to share the resources. The aim of this conceptual paper is to examine the extant literature concerning social networks and knowledge creation to develop a tentative model which presents the conditions affect the decision of utilizing strong or weak ties. Different benefits are embedded in these ties, but the point is to get understand under which conditions a strong or a weak tie generate a better return in knowledge creation process.