Towards a theory of the dynamic firm: knowledge, learning and social relationships

Nahapiet, Janine (2003) Towards a theory of the dynamic firm: knowledge, learning and social relationships. Doctoral thesis, University of London: London Business School. OPEN ACCESS


This study seeks to contribute to theory and practice in what is becoming known as the knowledge-based view of the firm. More specifically, it sets out to increase understanding of the dynamic firm. The central proposition developed in the thesis is as follows: the dynamic capability of firms derives from (1) the ways in which they foster productive social connections and relationships, and (2) the dialectics between these relationships and knowledge and learnmg processes. The proposition is explored through three, interrelated pieces of work. The first presents a macro level theoretical argument to identify and explain why firms may have particular capabilities for creating and sharing knowledge that (1) give them an advantage over other institutional arrangements and (2) provide the basis for sustained renewal. The framework highlights the critical importance of the relationships between social and intellectual capital in the dynamic firm. This model leads directly to second piece of work - an empirical study of one firm, Skandia. The focus here is on deliberate strategies for managing social and intellectual capital and the study provides valuable insights into a range of management practices for the institutionalization of renewal. These include investments in discourse, particularly conversation, which is the focus of the final part of the thesis. By presenting a typology for clarifying the role of different types of conversation in organizational change, this section provides a n-ficro level theoretical perspective on firm dynamics. The study contributes by articulating a coherent proposition that bridges knowledge, learning and relational perspectives, that can be applied across a range of levels of analysis and that addresses known gaps in existing theory.

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Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subject Areas: Strategy and Entrepreneurship
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2022 10:53
Date of first compliant deposit: 25 Feb 2022
Subjects: Theory of the firm
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2022 03:43

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