Cross Discipline in Business

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CROSS-DISCIPLINARY COMMUNITIES OR KNOWLEDGE ISLANDS: EXAMINING BUSINESS DISCIPLINES JEAN A. PRATT University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire Eau Claire, WI 54702 KARINA HAUSER Utah State University Logan, UT 84322 CASSIDY R. SUGIMOTO Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN 47405

ABSTRACT Successful knowledge transfer provides benefits to companies and society. Knowledge management across disparate business functions leads to improvement in business processes. Colleges are comprised of different departments training the next generation of business leaders who must be prepared to contribute in open, cross-functional environments. This research uses bibliometric research methods to examine the transfer of knowledge across business disciplines over four decades. Bibliometrics uses publication and citation data to document knowledge creation and transfer. The goal of this research is to identify publication and citation trends associated with knowledge creation and knowledge transfer within business disciplines. We analyzed four decades of citation patterns of the top 25 journals from established and emerging business disciplines. Initial analyses show increases in within-discipline and interdisciplinary publications and citations, demonstrating increased knowledge creation and transfer. Further analysis indicates the strength of knowledge flow among business disciplines, identifying the greatest knowledge transfer among disciplines. Keywords: academic knowledge creation, academic knowledge transfer, inter-disciplinary research, business research, citation analysis, bibliometrics INTRODUCTION Associated with the global trend towards knowledge-based societies, knowledge management has become increasingly important for companies to gain a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace. Successful knowledge management has been shown to provide numerous benefits to companies. Benefits of knowledge management can be categorized into process and organizational outcomes [3]. Process outcome benefits are classified as those related to communication (enhanced communication, faster communication, more visible opinions of staff, increased staff participation) and efficiency (reduced problem solving time, shortened proposal times, faster results, faster delivery to market, and greater overall efficiency). Organizational outcome benefits are classified as financial (increased sales, decreased cost, higher profitability), marketing (better service, customer focus, targeted marketing, proactive marketing) and general benefits (consistent proposals to multinational clients, improved project management, personnel reduction). Knowledge management case studies in different industries have reported increased overall productivity in manufacturing environments [19], reduced production cost in shipyards [4] and service organizations [16], and decreased lead time in new product development [35]. Knowledge management is also important in colleges of business, which produce the next generation of employees who should be prepared to contribute in an open, crossWinter 2012

functional environment. Scholarly journals are important outlets for knowledge creation and transfer. Researchers within a discipline share a knowledge base, which engenders a common understanding [25]. Sharing a common understanding is a critical component for both knowledge creation and knowledge transfer. In an integrated spiral model of knowledge creation [25, 40], individuals with a shared knowledge base can synthesize and convert explicit knowledge to tacit knowledge which can then be used to create new knowledge. Knowledge transfer is difficult to measure. In organizations knowledge transfer can be measured as change in knowledge itself [e.g., 7] or change in performance [e.g., 16, 26]. In academia knowledge transfer can be measured as learning outcomes and research impact. One established way to quantify research impact is through citation analysis. By citing another...
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