The effect of in/out group formation and the tie strength on the knowledge transfer and performance

내, 외집단 형성 및 관계강도가 지식이전 및 성과에 미치는 효과

  • Han, Sujin (Department of Business Administration, Hoseo University) ;
  • Kang, Sora (Division of Entrepreneurship, Hoseo University) ;
  • Lee, Jongwon (Division of Entrepreneurship, Hoseo University)
  • Received : 2013.06.13
  • Accepted : 2013.09.06
  • Published : 2013.09.30


Knowledge transfer occurs in various social contexts, within individuals and groups, and, thus, is closely linked to social networks in an organization. This paper applies social network theory and social identity theory to knowledge management area. The subject of this study was organization members who transfer their knowledge. 296 questionnaires were collected and analyzed. The results are as follows. First, in-group and out-group's tie strength have a significant effect on knowledge transfer. Second, the study shows that the knowledge transfer influences positively individual, team and organizational performance. Lastly, the study verifies that the applied knowledge has a moderating effect on the relationship of the in-group's tie strength and knowledge transfer.


In-group;Knowledge Transfer;Out-group;Tacit Knowledge;Tie Strength


Supported by : 한국연구재단


  1. Sherman, D.K., M.A. Hogg, and A.T. Maitner, "Perceived polarization: Reconciling ingroup and intergroup perceptions under uncertainty," Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 12(1), pp. 95-109, 1999. DOI:
  2. Brewer, M.B. and R.M. Kramer "The Psychology of Intergroup Attitudes and Behavior," Annual Review of Psychology, 36, pp. 219-243, 1985. DOI:
  3. Granovetter, M. "The Strength of Weak Ties," American Journal of Sociology, 78, pp.1360-1380, 1973. DOI:
  4. Szulanski, G. "Exploring Internal Stickiness: Impediments to the Transfer of Best Practice within the Firm," Strategic Management Journal, 17, Winter, pp.27-43, 1996.
  5. Sears, D.O. Symbolic Racism in Eliminating Racism: Profiles in Controversy, in Katz, A. & Taylor, D.A. (Eds), New York: Plenum, 1988.
  6. Lee, J.W., Moon, Y.J., Lee, H.J., and Kang, S. "Effect of Organizational Politics and Social Network on Knowledge Transfer", The Journal of Korea Contents Association, 11, 6, pp.407-418, 2011. DOI:
  7. Jehn, K.A., G.B. Northcraft, and M.A. Neale "Why Differences Make a Difference: A Field Study of Diversity, Conflict, and Performance in Work Groups," Administrative Science Quarterly, 44, pp.741-763, 1999. DOI:
  8. Keller, R.T. "Cross-Functional Project Groups in Research and New Product Development: Diversity, Communications, Job stress, and Outcomes," Academy of Management Journal, 44, 3, pp.547-555, 2001. DOI:
  9. Pelled, L.H., K.M. Eisenhardt, K.R, and Xin "Exploring the Black Box: An Analysis of Work Group Diversity, Conflict, and Performance," Administrative Science Quarterly, 44, pp.1-28, 1999. DOI:
  10. Cross, R., A. Parker, L. Prusak, and S.P. Borgatti "Knowing What We Know: Supporting Knowledge Creation and Sharing in Social Networks," Organizational Dynamics, 30, 2, pp.100-120, 2001. DOI:
  11. Montoya, R. M., and T.L. Pittinsky, T. L. "When Increased Group Identification Leads to Outgroup Liking and Cooperation: The Role of Trust," The Journal of social psychology, 151(6), pp.784-806, 2011. DOI:
  12. Molm, L.D., M.M. Whitham, and D. Melamed. "Forms of Exchange and Integrative Bonds: Effects of History and Embeddedness."" American Sociological Review 77(1), pp.141-165, 2012. DOI:
  13. Savage, S. V. "The Tie That Binds: Exchange and Commitment in the Face of Uncertainty," Doctoral dissertation, The University of Arizona, 2012.
  14. Tortoriello, M., R. Reagans, and B. McEvily, "Bridging the Knowledge Gap: The Influence of Strong Ties, Network Cohesion, and Network Range on the Transfer of Knowledge Between Organizational Units," Organization Science, 23(4), pp.1024-1039. 2012. DOI:
  15. Reinholt, M., T. Pedersen, and N.J. Foss "Why a central network position isn't enough: the role of motivation and ability for knowledge sharing in employee networks," Academy of Management Journal, 54(6), pp.1277-1297. 2011. DOI:
  16. O'Dell, C. and C.J. Grayson "If Only We Knew What We Know: Identification and Transfer of Internal Best Practices," California Management Review, 40, 3, pp.154-174, 1998. DOI:
  17. Hansen, M.T. "The Search-Transfer Problem: The Role of Weak Ties in Sharing Knowledge across Organization Subunits," Administrative Science Quarterly, 44, 1, pp.82-111, 1999. DOI:
  18. Mayer, R.C., J.H. Davis, and F.D. Schoorman "An Integration Model of Organizational Trust," Academy of Management Review, 20, pp.709-734, 1995. DOI:
  19. Jordan, J. and P. Jones, "Assessing Your Company's Knowledge Management Style," Long Range Planning, 30, 3, pp.392-398, 1997. DOI:
  20. Markus, H. and S. Kitayama "Culture and the Self: Implications for Cognition, Emotion, and Motivation," Psychological Review, 98, pp.224-253, 1991. DOI:
  21. Sparrowe, R.T., R.C. Leidner, S.J Wayne, and M.L. Kraimer "Social Networks and the Performance of Individuals and Groups," Academy of ManagementJournal. 44, 2, pp.316-325, 2001. DOI:
  22. Wasserman, S. and K. Faust Social Network Analysis: Methodsand Applications, Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1994.
  23. Wellman, B. "Structural Analysis: From Method and Metaphor to Theory and Substance," in Wellman, B. & Berkowitz, S.D. (Eds.), Social Structures: A Network Approach (pp.19-61), Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 1988.
  24. Leana, C.R. and H.J. Van Buren, "Organizational social capital and employment practices", Academy of Management Review, 24, pp.538-555, 1999. DOI:
  25. Coleman, J.S. "Social Capital in the Creation of Human Capital," American Journal of Sociology, 94, pp.95-120, 1988. DOI:
  26. Coleman, J.S. Foundations of social theory, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990.
  27. Putnam, R.D. "The prosperous community; Social capital and public life," American Prospect, 13, pp.35-42, 1993.
  28. Inkpen, A.C. and E.W.K. Tsang, "Social Capital, Network, and Knowledge Transfer," Academy of Management Review, 30, 1, pp.146-165, 2005. DOI:
  29. Levin, D.Z. and R. Cross, "The Strength of Weak Ties You Can Trust: The Mediating Role of Trust in Effective Knowledge Transfer," Management Science, 50, 11, pp.1477-1490, 2004. DOI:
  30. Fritsch, M., and M. Kauffeld-Monz, "The impact of network structure on knowledge transfer: an application of social network analysis in the context of regional innovation networks," The Annals of Regional Science, 44(1), pp.21-38. 2010. DOI:
  31. McEvily, B. and A. Zaheer, "Does trust still matter? Research on the role of trust in inter-organizational exchange." Handbook of trust research, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA, USA, 2006
  32. Daskalakis and Kauffeld-Monz "On the dynamics of knowledge generation and trust building in regional innovation networks. A multi-method approach." Papers on agent-based economics 05-2007
  33. Allport, G.W. The Nature of Prejudice, Cambridge, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1954.
  34. Tajfel, H. Human Groups and Social Categories: Studies in Social Psychology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981.
  35. Hogg, M.A. and J.C. Turner "Interpersonal Attraction, Social Identification and Psychological Group Formation," European Journal of Social Psychology, 15, pp.51-66, 1985. DOI:
  36. Ko, D.G., L.J. Kirsch, and W.R. King Antecedents of Knowledge Transfer from Consultants to Clients in Enterprise System Implementations, MIS Quarterly, 29(1), pp.59-85, 2005.
  37. Reagans, R., and B. McEvily, "Network structure and knowledge transfer: The effects of cohesion and range," Administrative science quarterly, 48(2), pp.240-267. 2003 DOI:
  38. Kang, M. H. "How Should We Measure Knowledge Transfer?: Comparison of the Knowledge Source's and the Recipient's Perspectives," Knowledge Management Research, 12(2), pp.1-16. 2011.
  39. Cohen, D. and L. Prusak In good company: How social capital makes organizational work, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, 2001.
  40. Attewell, P. "Technology Diffusion and Organizational Learning: The Case of Business Computing," Organization Science, 3,1, pp.1-19, 1992. DOI:
  41. Insko, C.A., J. Schopler, and C. Sedikides Personal Control, Entitativity, and Evolution. In C. Sedikides, J. Schopler, & C. Insko (Eds.), Intergroup cognition and intergroup behavior (pp.109-120). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 1998.
  42. Kramer, R.M. "Trust and Distrust in Organizations: Emerging Perspectives, Enduring Questions," Annual Review of Psychology, 50, 569-598, 1999. DOI:
  43. Tsai, W. and S. Ghoshal "Social Capital and Value Creation: The Role of Intrafirm Networks," Academy of Management Journal, 41, pp.464-476, 1998. DOI:
  44. Cabrera, E.F. and A. Cabrera "Knowledge- Sharing Dilemmas," Organization Studies, 23(5), pp.687-710, 2002. DOI:
  45. Park, H.T., Lee, S.J., Son, S.Y., Kim, S.Y., and Yun, S.H., "The Effects of Organizational Justice on the Knowledge Sharing of Subordinates", Korean Journal of Business Research, 40, 2, pp.485-521, 2011.
  46. Bae, J.S., Human Resource Management for Competitive Advantage Based on Human Being, Hong Moon Sa, 2007.
  47. Nahapiet, J. and S. Ghoshal "Social Capital, Intellectual Capital, and the Organization Advantage," Academy of Management Review, 23,2, pp.242-266, 1998. DOI:
  48. Robinson, S. "Trust and Breach of the Psychological Contract," Administrative Science Quarterly, 41, pp.574-599, 1996. DOI:
  49. Lepak, D.P. and S.A. Snell "The Human Resource Architecture: Toward a Theory of Human Capital Allocation and Development," Academy of Management Review, 24, pp.31-48, 1999. DOI:
  50. Nonaka, I. and H. Takeuchi The Knowledge Creating Company, New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.
  51. Kym, H.G. and S.H. Jeong, "The Study on the Success of Knowledge Transfer through KMS within the Firm: From the Constructivist Perspective on Recipient's Motivation to Adopt", Korean Journal of Business Research, 31, 4, pp.993-1037, 2002.
  52. Davenport, T.H. "Knowledge Management and the Broader Firm: Strategy, Advantage, and Performance," in Liebowitz, J. (Ed.), Knowledge Management Handbook, Boca Raton: FLCRC Press, 1999.
  53. Gurteen, D. "Knowledge, Creativity and Innovation," Journal of Knowledge Management, 2,1, pp.5-13, 1998. DOI:
  54. Zander, U. and B. Kogut "Knowledge and the Speed of the Transfer and Imitation of Organizational Capabilities: An Empirical Test," Organization Science, 6,1, pp.76-93, 1995. DOI:
  55. Bhagat, R.S., B.L. Kedia, P.D Harveston, and H.C. Triandis, "Cultural Variations in the Cross-Border Transfer of Organizational Knowledge: An Integrative Framework," Academy of Management Review, 27,2, pp.204-221, 2002. DOI:
  56. Rohel, T. and Truitt "Stormy Open Mariages are Better: Evidence from US, Japanese and French Cooperative Ventures in Commercial Aircraft," Columbia Journal of World Business, 22,2, pp.87-95, 1987.
  57. Simonin, B.L. "Transfer of Marketing Know-how in International Strategic Alliances: An Empirical Investigation of The Role and Antecedents of Knowledge Ambiguity," Journal of International Business Studies, 30,3, pp.463-490, 1999a. DOI:
  58. Simonin, B.L. "Ambiguity and the Process of Knowledge Transfer in Strategic Alliances," Strategic Management Journal, 20. pp.595-623, 1999b. DOI: 20:7<595::AID-SMJ47>3.0.CO;2-5<595::AID-SMJ47>3.0.CO;2-5
  59. Lam, A. "Tacit knowledge, organizational learning and societal institutions: an integrated framework". Organization Studies, 21, pp.487-513, 2000. DOI:
  60. Reed, H. and R.J. Defillippi "Causal Ambiguity, Barriers To Imitation, and Sustainable Comparative Advantage," Academy of Management Review, 15,1, pp.88-102, 1990. DOI:
  61. Nonaka, I., and G. Von Krogh,"Perspective-Tacit knowledge and knowledge conversion: Controversy and advancement in organizational knowledge creation theory," Organization science, 20(3), pp.635-652. 2009 DOI:
  62. Venzin, M., Krogh G, and J. Roos, Future Research into Knowledge Management, In G. Krogh, J. Roos and D. Kleine (Ed.) Knowing In Firms, pp.223-252. SAGE Publication, 1998.
  63. Granovetter, M. Economic action and social structure: The problem of embeddedness, American Journal of Sociology, 91(3), pp.481-510, 1985. DOI:
  64. Birkinshaw, J., R. Nobel, and J. Ridderstrale "Knowledge as a Contingency Variable: Do the Characteristics of Knowledge Predict Organization Structure?" Organization Science, 13,3, pp.274-289, 2002. DOI:
  65. Cummings, J.N. "Work Groups, Structural Diversity, and Knowledge Sharing in a Global Organization," Management Science, 50,3, pp.352-364, 2004. DOI:
  66. Lee, H. and B. Choi "Knowledge Management Enablers, Process, and Organizational Performance: An Integrative View and Empirical Examination," Journal of Management Information Systems, 20,1, pp.179-228, 2003.
  67. Janz, B.D., A.C. Jason, and A.M. Raymond "Knowledge Worker Team Effectiveness: The Role of Autonomy, Interdependence, Team Development, and Contextual Support Variables," Personnel Psychology, 50,4, pp.877-904, 1997. DOI:
  68. Fornell, C. and D.F. Larcker Evaluating Structural Equation Models with Unobservable Variables and Measurement Error, Journal of Marketing Research, 18, pp.39-50, 1981. DOI:
  69. Hong, S.H. "The Criteria for Selecting Appropriate Fit Indices in Structural Equation Modeling and Their Rationales", Korean Journal of Clinical Psychology, 19, pp.161-177, 2000.
  70. Browne, M.W. and R. Cudeck, Alternative Ways of Assessing Model Fit: in K.A. Bollen and J.S. Long (Eds.), Testing structural equation models (pp.445-455), Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1993.
  71. Ping, R.A. FAQ's about latent variable interactions and quadratics in survey data, Retrieved from DOI:, 2003.
  72. Dhanaraj, C.L., A. Marjorie, H.K. Steensma, and L. Tihnyi "Managing Tacit and Explicit Knowledge Transfer in IJVs: The Role of Relational Embeddedness and the Impact on Performance," Journal of International Business Studies, 35, pp.428-442, 2004. DOI:
  73. Holste, J. S., and D. Fields, "Trust and tacit knowledge sharing and use," Journal of Knowledge Management, 14(1), pp.128-140. 2010 DOI:
  74. Triandis, H.C. "The Self and Social Behavior in Differing Cultural Contexts," Psychological Review, 96, pp.506-520, 1989. DOI:
  75. Burt, R.S. "The Contingent Value of Social Capital", Administrative Science Quarterly, 42, pp.339-365, 1997. DOI: