The flow of ideas and timing of evaluation as determinants of knowledge creation

Sridhar Seshadri, Zur Shapira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There are different perspectives on the study of knowledge in organizations, developed in economics, sociology, anthropology and organization theory. Several authors followed Schumpeter's idea that innovations are new combinations of existing knowledge and incremental learning. Kogut and Zander further developed this idea and defined knowledge as a portfolio of options, and emphasized the importance of combinative capacities in knowledge creation. In a similar vein, Garud and Nayyar developed a notion of the transformative capacitiy of a firm in analyzing technological innovations. This paper follows in this tradition by pointing at the effects of different organizational structures on the flow of ideas and on the possibility of combining proposals in organizations. Communication structures, span of control and timing of evaluation are shown, using computer simulations, to have a large impact on the degree to which commonalities and complementarities among ideas and proposals can be detected and on the eventual combination of ideas for knowledge creation. Implications for organizational design are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1099-1124
Number of pages26
JournalIndustrial and Corporate Change
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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