Talk, talk, talk: exploring idea conversations and the micro-level foundations of knowledge sharing for innovation

Dirk Deichmann, Christine Moser, J. Van Den Ende

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Abstract

In this study we explore the drivers and consequences of micro-level instances of knowledge sharing for innovation. We do so by focusing on the temporally bounded conversations that colleagues have about new ideas and we study specifically how the strength of ties between these colleagues influences the duration and breadth of knowledge sharing in the idea-related conversations they have over time. A 14-month on-site field study in a multinational company, in which we mapped 496 dyadic relationships regarding 17 new product ideas, shows that knowledge sharing can be explained by the ties between people being either strong or weak, rather than intermediate. We also discover that characteristics of the idea itself shape how tie strength influences the duration and breadth of knowledge sharing in idea conversations. Finally, we provide initial evidence to show how important conversations are for the success of an idea. Our study sheds light on micro-level instances of knowledge sharing for innovation and provides important insights into how managers can foster an environment in which weak and strong ties can be utilised optimally for sharing knowledge about ideas.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
JournalInnovation: Organization & Management
Early online date18 May 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 May 2020

Keywords

  • Idea conversations
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Tie strength
  • Ideas
  • Creativity
  • Innovation
  • Micro-level

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