Multi-level complexity in the management of knowledge networks
While it is widely acknowledged that economic growth is now dependent on the realization of a knowledge based economy, there remains much confusion as to how this is actualized. Effective management of knowledge is endorsed as an essential element for organizational survival and competitive advantage, yet again, the ways in which knowledge moves through knowledge networks remains poorly understood. This paper is the result of a three-year qualitative investigation of the dynamic relationships among knowledge creation, diffusion, and utilization occurring in situ in a collaborative knowledge network. In an attempt to better understand how knowledge unfolds in such a system, this paper explores emergent patterns, not only within individual, group, organizational and inter-organizational levels of learning, but also among them. Two theoretical models acknowledging the multi-level complexity of knowledge management in organizations while simultaneously identifying the common influences among them, are presented. In combination, it is then possible develop a theoretical framework through which to better understand the relationships among knowledge creation, diffusion, and utilization in collaborative knowledge networks, and thereby, optimize the utility of knowledge designed for organizational application.