The value of intra-organizational social capital in fostering knowledge sharing and innovation capability
Mendoza Silva, Andrea
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Innovation has become an essential element for the economic and social growth of a country. Specifically, managers recognize that innovation is a critical factor in sustaining a competitive advantage in the changing global marketplace (Deloitte, 2015), since it plays a role in improving productivity, reducing costs, creating job opportunities, and increasing internal communication. Thus, firms constantly encourage their employees to generate new ideas that could be implemented, as well as to develop the necessary abilities to attain their potential to innovate. Nevertheless, innovation is a complex social process that requires the interaction of multiple actors who are embedded in different network structures (Grigoriou & Rothaermel, 2014). Even when scholars have examined the role that informal relations have on a firm’s innovation capability (IC) through the examination of social capital, there are inconclusive results. For instance, there is little research regarding how knowledge sharing helps to accomplish the benefits of social capital on the IC of a firm. To address this problem, this dissertation applies the social network perspective, organizational capability literature, and knowledge-based view to examine the impact that internal social capital has on a firm’s IC through the sharing of knowledge. To meet the previous objective, the dissertation is divided into three papers. The first paper provides a systematic literature review regarding IC. Then, the second paper presents the development and validation of a sociometric instrument to measure IC. Finally, the third paper collects data through an online sociometric survey in a Mexican multinational company. The results provide evidence that informal relations are essential within an organization since they provide the basis on which knowledge sharing can support IC. Results also indicate that those actors occupying a central position in different informal networks play an essential role in the improvement of IC. Base on this, it is crucial for managers to pay attention not only to their formal hierarchy but to invest in the development of informal relations among their employees.