Date of Original Version

6-2012

Type

Working Paper

Rights Management

All Rights Reserved

Abstract or Description

Current theoretical arguments highlight the negative implications of cohesion in a network neighborhood for relationships with outsiders. We present argument and evidence illustrating the importance of knowledge overlap inside a neighborhood in moderating the negative internal cohesion effect. We analyzed the tendency for individuals to initiate and sustain knowledge transfer relationships in an online technical forum. Empirical results indicated that as cohesion in a neighborhood increased each member was less likely to initiate and sustain external knowledge transfer relationships. However, the magnitude of negative effect that cohesion had on external knowledge transfer relationships declined as knowledge overlap in the neighborhood increased. Our research findings clarify one condition under which increasing cohesion in a network neighborhood can be expected to undermine external knowledge transfer relationships, and therefore the extent to which the benefits created by cohesion in a neighborhood will come at the expense of relationships that provide access to resources outside the neighborhood.

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