Using Knowledge Transfer Partnership projects to reveal latent dynamics in the Knowledge-Based View of strategy

  • Serkan Ceylan

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The Knowledge-Based View (KBV) is a well-regarded theory that places knowledge as the most strategically significant resource of the firm. Grant's (1996) paper: Towards a Knowledge-Based Theory of the Firm triggered a wave of research and was one of the most cited papers in subsequent years. Yet, just over 20 years after the appearance of the KBV, there are still academic disputes on what the KBV has contributed to the competitive strategic management literature. The reason for prolonged debate stems from the nature of the theory itself. In short, that which is held to make the approach effective renders it as unclear to researchers seeking to explain it as it is to competitors seeking to replicate it. Researchers have tried to overcome the problem of causal ambiguity by isolating individual themes which consequently, makes them only partially useful in explaining both the overall strategy formulation of the firm and its subsequent effects. This thesis makes its contribution by deliberately seeking a context where KBV would be most evident. The goal is to analyse how different KBV-themes are interlinked with each other and hence, this study will enable insight into holistic KBV strategy formulation. Special focus will be given to the role of knowledge among firms that engage in knowledge production and knowledge coordination. The chosen context to unveil the KBV as an act of strategy is knowledge transfer partnerships (KTP) since the main purpose of a KTP is to fill a strategically important knowledge-gap to achieve competitive advantage by using knowledge production and integration mechanisms. The overall goal is to unveil, ex-post and through a newly constructed knowledge-based value chain, how the different KBV-themes, as a holistic view, explain the achievement of competitive advantage and how such advantage could be sustained. The individual, project-based nature of KTPs require a qualitative, case-based research method which is applied to four KTP projects. This study has the following theoretical, methodological and practical knowledge contributions: First - By extrapolating a specific KBV value chain which comprehensively links the primary knowledge processes of knowledge production, coordination and decision making with identified KBV knowledge elements. This allowed for a unique holistic view of the KBV of strategy which no other model in the identified literature provided. Second - By creating a distinctive KBV value chain construct, this thesis enables a reflective case study analysis in the understanding of complementary use of knowledge elements and knowledge processes more linked to SCA. Third - Identifying and defending the use of KTP as a strategic-fit case study environment for the KBV value chain construct. In doing so, this thesis is the first study to have successfully demonstrated how and why the KBV can be used for strategy formulation, while understanding latent dynamics of a holistic KBV of strategy to explain the success and failures within KTP projects. Fourth - The contribution to practice is through the creation, understanding and implementation of a complexity of knowledge model in developing strategy formulation for managers requiring to implement a knowledge-based view of strategy within knowledge production, coordination and decision making.
    Date of Award16 Jul 2018
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Nottingham Trent University

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