With David Massé (Telecom ParisTech) and Nicola Mirc (Toulouse School of Management), we wrote a research article entitled "“All for One and One for All?” - Knowledge broker roles in managing tensions of internal coopetition: The Ubisoft case" that just got accepted in Research Policy.
More precisely, this article aims to understand how to manage internal coopetition. Coopetition, i.e., cooperation between competing actors, has become a pervasive strategy for innovative firms. The primary focus of studies investigating coopetition centers on inter-firm relationships, highlighting the benefits, limits and configurational patterns of cooperative relationships between competing firms. Only a small, emerging group of studies seeks to extend the concept to the intra-firm level, stressing the existence and effects of competition and cooperation between units that are part of the same organization. This paper contributes to this latter group by investigating the effects of internal coopetition on knowledge and innovation sharing and highlighting the fundamental role of knowledge brokers in managing the resulting tensions. Based on a qualitative case study of the video game publisher Ubisoft, we stress how the tensions raised by internal coopetitive settings limit knowledge sharing between units, and we analyze the mechanisms through which the knowledge broker helps to overcome these limits. We identify three main functions of this knowledge broker that allow the promotion of knowledge and innovation transfer to occur between coopeting units: (1) protecting the unit’s competitive advantage by introducing a lagging principle in the transfer process, (2) reducing sharing costs by standardizing innovative solutions, and (3) enhancing awareness of and trust in innovative solutions by centralizing knowledge diffusion.
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