Rich Ties and Innovative Knowledge Transfer within a Firm

HL (Rick) Aalbers, WA Dolfsma, Otto Koppius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


We show that contacts in formal, informal and especially multiplex networks explain transfer of innovative knowledge in an organization. The contribution of informal contacts has been much acknowledged, while that of formal contacts did not receive much attention in the literature in recent decades. No study thus far has included both these different kinds of contacts in a firm, let alone considered their combined effect. The exact overlap between formal as well as informal contacts between individuals, forming multiplex or what we call rich ties because of their contribution, especially drives the transfer of new, innovative knowledge in a firm. Studying two cases in very different settings suggests these rich ties have a particularly strong effect on knowledge transfer in an organization, even when controlling for the strength of ties. Some of the effects on knowledge transfer in an organization previously ascribed to either the formal network or the informal network may actually be due to their combined effect in a rich tie.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)833-848
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sept 2013


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