JBR Article Published

New Article Published in the Journal of Business Research 60: 698-710

Knowledge Transfer Between and Within Alliance Partners: Private Versus Collective Benefits of Social Capital

Jorge Walter*, Christoph Lechner*, & Franz W. Kellermanns***

* Portland State University, ** University of St. Gallen, *** Mississippi State University

This article examines the process through which multilevel network structures translate into knowledge acquisition from alliance partners. The degree of knowledge transfer a multidivisional company achieves from its network of alliance partners is determined not only by the organization’s external network structure, but also by the structure of relationships among its business units. By distinguishing two perspectives on the distribution of social capital’s benefits – private versus collective – this article’s approach
reconciles the competing views on what types of network structures create social capital, that is, the brokerage and closure views of the social network literature. Private benefits of brokerage and centrality are more beneficial in interfirm networks, whereas collective benefits provided by network closure and low levels of centralization are more beneficial in intrafirm networks.

Keywords: Inter- and intrafirm networks; knowledge transfer; social capital; strategic alliances

For a copy of this paper, see here.