Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Papers in Innovation Studies,
Lund University, CIRCLE - Centre for Innovation Research

No 2006/8: On and Off the Beaten Path: Transferring Knowledge through Formal and Informal Networks

Rick Aalbers (), Otto Koppius () and Wilfred Dolfsma ()
Additional contact information
Rick Aalbers: Atos Consulting, Postal: Papendorpseweg 93 , 3528 BJ Utrecht, The Netherlands
Otto Koppius: RSM/Erasmus University, Postal: Office T9-12 , PO Box 1738 , NL-3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Wilfred Dolfsma: RSM/Erasmus University, Postal: Office T9-12 , PO Box 1738 , NL-3000 DR Rotterdam , The Netherlands

Abstract: Informal networks are often emphasized as facilitating knowledge transfer. However, we find that formal networks also contribute significantly to knowledge transfer, and in fact contribute more than informal networks. This is particularly the case when knowledge is transferred between units. Additional analysis shows a synergetic effect between formal and informal ties, which suggests that knowledge transfer effects that in previous studies were attributed to informal networks only, may in fact be caused by the combination of both formal and informal networks. We conclude that there is more than one path to transfer knowledge effectively.

Keywords: Knowledge transfer; Formal networks; informal networks; multi-unit organizations.

JEL-codes: O30

33 pages, October 1, 2006

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200608_Aalbers_et_al.pdf PDF-file 

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