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Organizational politics and the "process of knowing": Understanding crisis events during project-based innovation projects

Edwards, Timothy James ORCID: 2007. Organizational politics and the "process of knowing": Understanding crisis events during project-based innovation projects. European Journal of Innovation Management 10 (3) , pp. 391-406. 10.1108/14601060710776770

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Purpose – In offering a critical account of project-based innovation projects, this paper aims to assess the creation and sharing of knowledge from a social constructionist perspective. Design/methodology/approach – Using findings from an in-depth longitudinal study of a UK Government Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) programme, the paper shows that the ability to adopt knowledge is linked to the efforts of actors to cope with the uncertainties that emerge from crisis events when actors can transform their social context in ways that allow them to overcome the politicisation of tasks. By conceptualising “knowledge” as a social process, this paper proposes that the individual and collective ability to introduce new meaning is not simply related to the propositional aspects of knowledge (through the acquisition of new systems and practices), it also relies on the socially embedded nature of knowledge – the legitimating role of the local context. Findings – To ascertain a better understanding of knowledge creation and sharing this paper considers the process through which individuals appropriate knowledge where crisis events disrupt and jeopardise the social relations between the members of the innovation project. Here the paper demonstrates how actors renegotiate participation in projects and therefore reconstitute the context through which such activities are organised. Research limitations/implications – Based on a single case study, this research offers a limited view of context. The study is also based on the appropriation of practices linked to TQM. Future work should look at a range of contexts and technologies to ascertain differentiation in the way the social context mediates knowledge communication. Originality/value – This paper offers a critical account of knowledge management and innovation. It stands in contrast to more mainstream positivist accounts.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD61 Risk Management
Uncontrolled Keywords: Innovation; Knowledge management; Knowledge transfer; Partnerships; Project management
Publisher: Emerald
ISSN: 1460-1060
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2022 09:54

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