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date: 14 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

External sources of knowledge have become more important to firms as they have dispersed their value-adding operations around the globe and outsourced them to suppliers. The global network firm has access to a rich store of external knowledge-but what do we know about accessing this treasure trove? We review work on industry clusters, alliances, and acquisitions as some of the most popular mechanisms for bringing external knowledge into the firm or providing access to needed know-how on a temporary basis. We also propose new directions for research by simultaneously examining these sources and considering the antecedents that drive the choice of one particular mechanism in contrast to the others, the co-evolution of the different mechanisms, and finally the implications of their joint use for firm performance.

Keywords: knowledge, know-how, network firm, clusters, alliances, acquisitions

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