Inderscience Publishers

Competitive advantages of managing an effective social network structure to stimulate innovation from a knowledge management perspective

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This study attempts to elucidate the role of social network structure in moderating the relationship between knowledge management practices and innovation stimulators to derive competitive advantages during the innovation process. First, a literature review is made of theories regarding social network structure, along with a summary of the merits and limitations of each social network structure involved in knowledge transfer. Secondly, each social network structure facilitates different knowledge management practices. Finally, each knowledge management practice facilitates different innovation stimulators during each innovation period to advance corresponding competitiveness. The authors propose a framework to consolidate logic relationships above and present the framework by discussing two explanatory cases, Sun Microsystems and Amazon.com. These two enterprises can achieve competitive advantages by contingently managing an effective social network structure.

Keywords: competitive advantage, innovation process, knowledge convergence, knowledge exploitation, knowledge exploration, knowledge management, network closure, small-world, social network structure, structural holes, social networking, innovation stimulation, knowledge transfer, Sun Microsystems, Amazoncom

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