How individuals manage the knowledge-sharing/protection tension in interorganizational collaborations

[Deutscher Titel: Wie Personen die Balance zwischen Wissensteilung und -schutz in interorganisationalen Kollaborationen managen]

Sirkka L. Jarvenpaa, Ann Majchrzak
Knowledge Collaboration Among Professionals Protecting National Security: Role of Transactive Memories in Ego-Centered Knowledge Networks
ORGANIZATION SCIENCE, Vol. 19, No. 2, March-April 2008, pp. 260-276

Abstract: Current social cognition models of knowledge coordination based on transactive memory systems (TMS) theory have not generally considered conditions in which goals among partners are incongruent, and that those with specialized knowledge will not necessarily act to share their knowledge. As expected from previous literature, when facing a problem requiring inputs from others, an individual will draw on her personal or ego-centered network using the knowledge of her network’s TMS; however, we theorize that the mixed motives within her network will cause the individual to also take into account her perception of the level of distrust within the network when combining the received knowledge from others in the network. Moreover, an individual’s view of her network’s TMS will be shaped not by specific policies or enforcement mechanisms, but by semistructures for how knowledge is disseminated, owned, and discussed. Our theory is supported based on a survey of security professionals responding to national security threats. The findings encourage a reexamination of certain assumptions of TMS theory, as well as extending theories of ego-centered networks and social-cognitive information processing to include how individuals manage the knowledge-sharing/protection tension in interorganizational collaborations.

Key Words: interorganizational collaboration; transactive memories; security management; ego-centered network

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Copyright © 2008 by INFORMS.

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