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Impact of knowledge search practices on the originality of inventions: a study in the oil & gas industry

Abstract : The paper suggests a new taxonomy of knowledge search modes to describe the creative process of new invention design, in particular how firms combine knowledge components from their own knowledge base-taking into account both the components and the structures of knowledge bases-with those from newly acquired or newly internally developed. Using network theory techniques, we defined four knowledge search modes: (1) refinement, (2) clustering, (3) absorption and (4) recomposition. We conducted an exploratory study on the oil & gas industry, reviewing 50,776 utility patents filed by 16 major firms between 1989 and 2016. The results showed, first, that firms relied to varying extents on different knowledge search modes in their invention design processes. Second, reviewing the technological originality of the designed inventions showed that simply absorbing new knowledge components, without major changes in knowledge base structure, was associated with low technological originality, but constituted one of the main knowledge search modes used by the analyzed firms. In contrast, major changes in knowledge base structure favored technological originality, with or without new knowledge components, but were nevertheless the least used mode. Understanding organizational learning practices associated with the phenomena described here can foster innovation performance in firms.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - 11:47:02 AM
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  • HAL Id : hal-02613665, version 1

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Quentin Plantec, Pascal Le Masson, Benoit Weil. Impact of knowledge search practices on the originality of inventions: a study in the oil & gas industry. Academy of Management Conference (AoM), Aug 2020, Vancouver, Canada. ⟨hal-02613665⟩

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