The Nature of Knowledge Flows
Knowledge is widely recognized as the key to a sustainable competitive advantage; however, the impact of individual types of knowledge on the level of this advantage is different. This particularly applies to the environment represented by machine-building industry enterprises. Enterprises of machine-building industry frequently implement their tasks in the form of projects or contracts. Studies carried out by the author prove that an important factor that influences the effective and efficient completion of orders is suppliers and customers' knowledge, whose inclusion into project teams improves the access to information and expertise in relation to new ideas and technologies. Taking into account this approach, knowledge flows are of crucial importance for the efficiency and effectiveness of order completion, in particular the flows between the company and entities inside and outside the supply chain. The identification of the nature of these flows, which takes into account the width and length of the flow channel, allows early identification of potential problems and thereby improves the quality of the final product, eliminates any modifications, and reduces the costs of the entire project. As part of the study, a method to determine the nature of knowledge flow within the organization and between entities inside and outside the supply chain was evolved. This method allows to determine the relationship between the nature of knowledge flow (laminar flow, turbulent flow), and the speed and accuracy of decisions made in relation to order completion. In addition to the critical review of the literature, this article describes field studies conducted in thirty-eight (38) selected enterprises of machine-building industry, carried out in the form of direct interviews with senior managers with the use of research questionnaires. These were two-stage studies. First, types of knowledge used in accordance with the areas of knowledge in the process of order completion in the context of the processes of knowledge were identified. Secondly, its nature was determined on the basis of the distance between the source and the recipient of knowledge, and types of connections between the nodes of knowledge. (original abstract)
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