The Nature and Dimensions of Knowledge Mobility for Competitive Advantage
Knowledge exchange generally leads to mutual benefits, but unintentional knowledge transfer may have negative consequences for the original knowledge owner. Knowledge loss may be caused by, e.g., key employees leaving, and if key knowledge assets are obtained by competitors, it may harm the competitiveness of the firm. As the dynamics of overall knowledge mobility are rather abstract and difficult to grasp, this study first reviews the debate on the relevance of knowledge mobility and protection for competitive advantage. To identify the dimensions of knowledge mobility we seek explanations for how and why knowledge moves, what kind of knowledge moves, and where and how knowledge flows occur. Based on earlier literature and empirical evidence from qualitative research, we develop a categorization of dimensions of knowledge mobility. In particular, we suggest that intentionality of knowledge mobility reveals other dimensions of the type, modality, and locus. This categorization allows a sharper analytical evaluation of the nature of the connection between knowledge mobility and protection.
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