Encyclopedia Monday, October 9, 2017 386 hits

Knowledge redundancy in collaboration networks

Florian J. Zach, Washington State University


Zach, J.F. (2017). Knowledge redundancy in collaboration networks. In AIRTH Encyclopedia of Innovation in Tourism and Hospitality. Retrieved: <insert-date>, from http://www.airth.global


The fragmented nature of tourism forces tourism service providers to collaborate. Collaboration is especially relevant for small organizations that need to collaborate to get access to resources[1]. As tourism destinations are typically characterized by small organizations von Friedrichs Grangsjö[2] found that destination businesses benefit from collaboration. The effectiveness of collaboration with other firms is to some extent determined by the degree of overlap (redundancy) of resources[3] and by the position of an actor within a network[4]. This encyclopedia entry discusses the effect of resource redundancy in collaborative innovation efforts.

Relevance for innovation

An organization’s position in a collaboration network is typically not the same as its position in a resource network. As organization’s possess different sets of resources that were historically developed they belong to different resource communities[5]. However, for collaboration organizations work with those that possess different resources or knowledge stocks or geographical positions to combine diverse inputs, especially those otherwise not accessible, for the innovation process[6]. In other words, collaboration and resource networks are decoupled[7]. Organizations that collaborate are thus embedded in multiple networks[8].  Indeed, an organization with a knowledge network rich of structural holes is less constraint in combining new knowledge as it is less influenced by dominant cognitive schemes[9]. Contrary, organizations that are at the center of a collaboration network hold a position with access to redundant knowledge; as such they hold a position of power with access to many, but with less opportunities to develop new ideas. On the other hand Schilling and Phelps[10] found that organizations embedded in tight networks that reach far to gain access to multiple knowledge communities are among the most innovative ones. Critical for innovation success is to determine if redundancy of resources or position in a collaboration network is more important in the innovation process.

Relevance for tourism

Knowing how and whom to combine for innovation activities is of particular interest for destination level decision makers as they have the opportunity to influence combinatorial opportunities across destination organizations. The geographic proximity among destination organizations enhances information and knowledge exchange as it facilitates face-to-face interaction[11]. In fact, the social nature of information rather than codified knowledge often provides the necessary who knows what distribution of knowledge[12]. Learning about the location or the owners of knowledge stocks, thus reduces cost. For tourism, it was found that knowledge redundancy is a primary factor to elect innovation partners[13]. However, redundancy reduces exposure to new ideas[14]. This suggests that tourism organizations prefer to mingle with organizations that possess similar knowledge. As such, destination level decision makers are well advised to attract new knowledge via new collaboration opportunities to facilitate collaboration that allows for knowledge combinations currently not exploited. Indeed, increased collaboration with a wider breadth of partners and knowledge stocks can result in new and quality improvements of existing tourism offerings[15].

Measurement scale

Original scale by Rindfleisch and Moorman[16]

Type: Seven-point semantic differential scale:

Please rate the degree to which the participant listed below compares to your firm in general:

  1. Produces very different products – Produces very similar products
  2. Has complementary new product development skills – Has overlapping new product development skills
  3. Their engineers have different knowledge from ours – Their engineers have the same type of knowledge than ours
  4. Has very different resources – Has very similar resources.

Adapted scale by Zach and Hill[17]

Type: Five-point Likert scale (1 = Strongly Agree; 5 = Strongly Disagree).

Thinking about [partner] please check the boxes that best match for statement:

  1. Our collaboration partner produces very similar products or services to ours.
  2. Our collaboration partner has complementary new product or service development skills.
  3. Our collaboration partners' personnel have the same type of knowledge as ours.

[1] Atuahene-Gima, K. (1995). Involving organizational buyers in new product development. Industrial Marketing Management, 24(3), 215-226. doi:10.1016/0019-8501(94)00083-9

[2] von Friedrichs Grangsjö, Y. (2003). Destination networking: Co-opetition in peripheral surroundings. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 33(5), 427-448. doi:10.1108/09600030310481997

[3] Cowan, R., & Jonard, N. (2009). Knowledge portfolios and the organization of innovation networks. Academy of Management Review, 34, 320-342. doi:10.5465/amr.2008.0052

[4] Capello, R., & Camagni, R. (2000). Beyond optimal city size: An evaluation of alternative urban growth patterns. Urban Studies, 37(9), 1479-1496. doi:10.1080/00420980050085397

[5] Wang, C., Rodan, S., Fruin, M., & Xu, X. (2014). Knowledge Networks, Collaboration Networks, and Exploratory Innovation. Academy of Management Journal, 57(2), 484-514. doi:10.5465/amj.2011.0917

[6] Nelson, R. R., & Winter, S. G. (1985). An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.

[7] Nerkar, A., & Paruchuri, S. (2005). Evolution of R&D Capabilities: The Role of Knowledge Networks Within a Firm. Management Science, 51(5), 771-785. doi:10.1287/mnsc.1040.0354

[8] Brass, D. J., Galaskiewicz, J., Greve, H. R., & Tsai, W. (2004). Taking stock of networks and organizations: A multilevel perspective. Academy of Management Journal, 47(6), 795-817.

[9] Hargadon, A., & Sutton, R. I. (1997). Technology brokering and innovation in a product development firm. Administrative Science Quarterly, 42(4), 716-749. doi:10.2307/2393655

[10] Schilling, M. A., & Phelps, C. C. (2007). Interfirm collaboration networks: The impact of large-scale network structure on firm innovation. Management Science, 53(7), 1113-1126. doi:10.1287/mnsc.1060.0624

[11] Acs, Z. J., & Audretsch, D. B. (1988). Innovation in Large and Small Firms: An Empirical Analysis. The American Economic Review, 78(4), 678-690. doi:10.2307/1811167

[12] Woodman, R. W., Sawyer, J. E., & Griffin, R. W. (1993). Toward a theory of organizational creativity. The Academy of Management Review, 18(2), 293-321.

[13] Zach, F. J., & Hill, T. L. (2017). Network, knowledge and relationship impacts on innovation in tourism destinations. Tourism Management, 62, 196-207. doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2017.04.001

[14] Rindfleisch, A., & Moorman, C. (2001). The acquisition and utilization of information in new product alliances: A strength-of-ties perspective. The Journal of Marketing, 65(2), 1-18. doi:10.1509/jmkg.

[15] Novelli, M., Schmitz, B., & Spencer, T. (2006). Networks, clusters and innovation in tourism: A UK experience. Tourism Management, 27(6), 1141-1152. doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2005.11.011

[16] Rindfleisch, A., & Moorman, C. (2001). The acquisition and utilization of information in new product alliances: A strength-of-ties perspective. The Journal of Marketing, 65(2), 1-18. doi:10.1509/jmkg.

[17] Zach, F. J., & Hill, T. L. (2017). Network, knowledge and relationship impacts on innovation in tourism destinations. Tourism Management, 62, 196-207. doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2017.04.001






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