Knowledge and the boundaries of the firm : design and permeability

Galvin, Peter and Tywoniak, Stephane and Sutherland, Janet (2007) Knowledge and the boundaries of the firm : design and permeability. [Conference Paper]


Organisational boundaries can be analysed via a variety of lenses – organisational design principles, transaction cost economics, property rights and agency theory, amongst others. We review these before taking a knowledge-based perspective to firstly explain how the boundaries of the firm are determined by the knowledge resources present, and second, to highlight how conceptualising the drivers of competitive advantage in terms of knowledge and learning create a backdrop for understanding the move towards intermediate or hybrid organisational forms most commonly characterised by strategic alliances. We subsequently propose that the exact location of these naturally more fluid boundaries of the firm that exist in conjunction with strategic alliances are not as important as the level of permeability of the organisational boundaries. Permeable organisational boundaries allow for more efficient use of key knowledge resources; for firms to make and buy the same activity simultaneously and for learning to occur – a key driver of competitive advantage for those that subscribe to the knowledge-based view or the dynamic capabilities view of competitive advantage.

Additional Information

Item Type: Conference Paper
Collection: CRC for Construction Innovation
Additional Information:

For more information, please refer to the conference website (see hypertext link) or contact the authors.

Keywords: Cross; boundary Knowledge Transfer; Agency Theory; Resource; based View; Transaction Cost Economics; Knowledge; based View of the Firm; CRC for Construction Innovation; Program A : Business and Industry Development; Project 2006-039-A : Managing Knowledge in an Outsourcing Environment
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Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2014 03:14
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2014 03:20
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