Knowledge flow: Exploring the links between knowledge resources, organizational actions, and performance
This dissertation examines the organizational performance consequences of differential actions in response to specific knowledge resources. Factors that enable knowledge resources to contribute to superior performance by being replicated exactly in multiple locations (evidence-based knowledge) are distinguished from those that contribute to performance by enhancing knowledge stocks and expanding the repertoire of options available to a firm (tinkerable knowledge). This research also examines the consequences of specific actions used to move different types of knowledge resources. Employing the concept of fit, I propose that work units are more likely to promote effective knowledge flow and achieve superior performance if they accurately classify their knowledge resources and align the actions used to move these resources within the organization. The research extends and tests the work of Lengnick-Hall and Griffith (2005, 2011).
Focus group results are used to develop the measurement instrument. Links between knowledge resources, organizational actions, and performance are examined using a sample of 83 respondents from 38 different work units in Federal government healthcare organizations from 2005--2007. Findings show that knowledge resources designed for replication are distinguishable from knowledge resources that are intended to build knowledge stock. Further, strong support is found for the benefits of matching actions with specific types of knowledge resources. The combination of identifying knowledge correctly and aligning actions is shown to have a positive impact on knowledge flow. While prior research suggests that greater knowledge flow should result in superior performance, the small work unit sample size precluded an adequate test of this link.