Why don't best practices spread within firms? What exactly is sticky knowledge? Having recognized that knowledge assets are rapidly becoming their most precious source of competitive advantage, a large number of organizations are now attempting to transfer best practices. Yet best practices still remain stubbornly immobile. Sticky Knowledge reveals that the transfer of practices is a complex phenomenon, and demonstrates the range of barriers to transferring best practices within the firm. Written in a brief and accessible format, Gabriel Szulanski defines the popular concept of stickiness and its operationalization, providing a roadmap for understanding and further researching this topical issue. Taking a fresh look at accepted wisdom, and presenting research findings that conflict with some established views, the book will be essential reading for academics and students addressing issues related to knowledge and the firm. Practising managers and MBA students will also find it of immense value.



You can see a high-performance factory or office, but it just doesn't spread. I don't know why


Senior Vice-President at Xerox

Mr Buehler's observation (Jacob, 1992) is a contemporary expression of an old puzzle – one that hasn't yet been resolved. Indeed, organizations often do not have to look too far to find best practices. In many cases, they find stellar performance in their own backyard. It seems sensible to expect that in-house examples will diffuse to other units of the organization, once uncovered. Peers will imitate and management will ‘suggest’. Yet, evidence shows otherwise. Best practices do not readily spread within firms.

One reason for this might be that companies simply do not attempt to spread best practices. Incentives to search for better practices inside the ...

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