Building Theories from Case Study Research
- KA THLEEN M. EISENHARDT
Introduction Recently, organisations as well as academics have increasingly become aware of the need for organisations to co-operate in knowledge networks with partnering organisations that can also be seen as competitors. It is not longer just co-operation that can improve a firm’s global competitiveness, but firms will actually meet their competitors in such cooperations. Organisations need to collaborate in order to improve their innovative and learning capabilities (Powell ea, 1996). Knowledge sharing or learning how to improve has evolved into one the most important reasons for networking (Kogut, 1988; Mowery ea, 1996; Kraatz, 1998; Chesbrough, 2003; Lee and Cole, 2003). In particular, because firm-specific capabilities are often based on tacit knowledge, networks have advantages. In networks, professionals are able to work together, so that they can see, access, and experience the knowledge of the others. An additional argument for learning in networks where professionals meet the people within context of the other organisations, is that knowledge is considered situated and can best be ‘captured’ and used within that (meaningful) context (Lave & Wenger, 1991). Thus, organisations feel a strong need for co-operation in networks, in order to have access to knowledge, as well as be able to internalise this tacit and situated knowledge.