Evaluating Interorganizational Knowledge Management: The Concept of IKM Orientation v


  • Agnès Lancini


Keywords: Interorganizational Knowledge Management, evaluation, IKM Orientation, Supply-Chain, boundaries


Abstract: For about 20 years, organisations have to work with more and more partners through networks, supply chains and other virtual structures, in volatile or just unstable environments. Networked organisational settings underline the need of managing knowledge across boundaries. The literature calls for more theoretical and empirical work to define what IKM is and examine its implementation. This paper responds to that call and investigates how to define and evaluate Interorganizational Knowledge Management (IKM), or the degree to which firms in the supply chain (or other interorganizational settings) demonstrate systematic implementation of IKM. To define IKM, we propose a theoretical framework drawing on the knowledge‑based view, the relational theories and the capacity lens. The theoretical contribution of this work shows that IKM is more than a simple extension of the level of analysis; it is a new concept with unique definition, theoretical frames, and objectives. To evaluate IKM, we study the concept of IKM orientation. Based on an extensive literature review, this study conceptualizes IKM orientation as six interconnecting elements: frequency of exchanges of information and knowledge; nature of the exchanged information and knowledge; inter‑organizational activities supported; IT infrastructure; scope, direction and strength of collaborative exchanges; and KM processes supported. Specifically, we provide a case study of a network of franchised convenience stores, to illustrate the several dimensions that comprise the measure of IKM orientation. This study could help managers to identify the IKM orientation in their firms, and the dimensions that need to be improved. Some implications of, perspectives on, and limits of IKM evaluation research and practice are discussed.



1 Aug 2015