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The Impact of Knowledge Management on Absorptive Capacity

Daniel Beimborn
University of Bamberg, Germany
Bernhard Moos
University of Bamberg, Germany
Heinz-Theo Wagner
German Graduate School of Management and Law, Germany
Tim Weitzel
University of Bamberg, Germany

One of the most important driving forces for the competitive success of a firm as well as of the entire economy is innovation. Innovations which "can be defined as the successful implementation of creative ideas, tasks, or procedures" results from the exchange and combination of knowledge. In this respect, the absorptive capacity (ACAP) of a firm has been found an important factor. We propose that KM positively influences each of the four abilities of ACAP. At first, KM provides means to identify relevant resources by facilitating the identification and acquisition of relevant knowledge. Second, KM supports the assimilation of knowledge by building and organizing a firm's knowledge stock and finally KM encourages the transformation of knowledge comprising the combination of prior and newly acquired and assimilated knowledge by providing means to update and share knowledge. A theoretical model that links KM to ACAP is developed and quantitatively evaluated by using data from 224 German manufacturing firms. The results show that KM significantly and positively influences a firm's ACAP. Looking into more detail, the two potential ACAP abilities are positively affected whereas in terms of realized ACAP KM only effects the transformation but not the exploitation ability. The results build the basis for our further research which focuses on analyzing which kinds of KM systems are how effectively affecting the different ACAP abilities and which organizational settings need to correspond with the applied KM systems in order to achieve superior innovation success.

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Reference:Beimborn, D., Moos, B., Wagner, H.-Th., Weitzel, T. (2010). "The Impact of Knowledge Management on Absorptive Capacity," Proceedings > Proceedings of IFIP 8.2/Organizations and Society in Information Systems (OASIS) . Sprouts: Working Papers on Information Systems, 10(117). http://sprouts.aisnet.org/10-117
Keywords:Knowledge Management, Absorptive Capacity, Innovation
Item Type:Article - Volume 10 Article 117 (2010)
Email: Daniel Beimborn (daniel.beimborn@uni-bamberg.de)
Bernhard Moos (bernhard.moos@uni-bamberg.de)
Heinz-Theo Wagner (heinz-theo.wagner@ggs.de)
Tim Weitzel (weitzel@is-bamberg.de)

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