Both in theory as in practice insight is limited about how firms in dynamic environments could organize to manage concurrently both the strategic processes of competence building and competence leveraging. To contribute to this issue, a conceptual framework is developed which considers the ability to exchange knowledge across organization units as a prerequisite for firms to achieve both the goals of competence building and leveraging. The framework shows how several important managerial and organizational determinants, associated with cross-unit knowledge exchange, may stimulate competence-building processes and how they may stimulate competence-leveraging processes. The conceptual framework will be illustrated by two case studies in different contexts of Novartis, one of the leading European life-science companies. These two contexts of respectively ‘organization-enabled’ and ‘web-enabled’ knowledge exchange appear to be complementary. The conceptual framework and cases provide insight into (1) possibilities about how firms could organize to deal with the tension between competence building and leveraging processes, and (2) how managing the determinants of horizontal knowledge exchange can contribute to changing a firm’s actual mixture of competence building/leveraging processes into a more desired strategic mixture.

Competence Building, Competence Leveraging, Exploration & Exploitation, Horizontal Knowledge Flows, Novartis
Firm Behavior (jel D21), Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior: General (jel L20), Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior: Other (jel L29), Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting (jel M)
Erasmus Research Institute of Management
hdl.handle.net/1765/7176
ERIM Report Series Research in Management
ERIM report series research in management Erasmus Research Institute of Management
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Mom, T.J.M, van den Bosch, F.A.J, & Volberda, H.W. (2005). The Influence of Managerial and Organizational Determinants of Horizontal Knowledge Exchange on Competence Building and Competence Leveraging (No. ERS-2005-080-STR). ERIM report series research in management Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/7176