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Incentives, Competencies and Knowledge: Evidence From France and Theoretical Integration

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15603/1982-8756/roc.v3n5p129-163



Fabrice Galia1


Abstract: This paper examines the knowledge creation, sharing and transferring process within manufacturing firms in an innovation perspective. First, using French data set, we aim at studying the complementarities between human resource management and knowledge management practices (henceforth, HRM and KM), and their impact on innovation. Organizational diversity of the firms is showed. Three clusters or bundles of organizational practices are identified as “HRM and KM practices systems”. They characterized respectively (i) traditional firms at the work organization concerned; (ii) firms using incentives personnel practices and (iii) learning firms using, added to incentives, knowledge management practices. They correspond to theoretical organizational models including modern organizational forms, based on incentives to develop competencies and knowledge, without forgetting inspired tayloring firms. Empirical results permit to conclude that HRM and KM practices bundles have significant and posi tive impact on innovation performance, while marginal changes in individual practices have little effect. Second, in order to confirm these complementarities, we focus on four specific practices mainly used by firms: team, incentives, training and knowledge management. We use a new testing procedure, based on the supermodularity concept, for complementarity and substitutability in case there are multiple organizational practices that affect innovative performance. This procedure is based on multiple inequality restriction. Our results suggest that firms use some practices in a joint way and systematically, and account for existing synergies. The result supports the notion that knowledge management is more effective if accompanied by team organization and associated incentives. This implies to construct a more comprehensive integration between agency and incentives theories and theories based on competencies and knowledge.

Key words: Knowledge Management; Human Resource Practices; Innovation; Complementarity; Supermodularity.


Resumo: Este artigo examina a criação do conhecimento, bem como a partilha e a transferência de processos em firmas de manufatura na perspectiva da inovação. Primeiramente, usando dados franceses, mostra a complementariedade entre a gerência de recursos humanos e as práticas de gerência do conhecimento (HRM e KM), e seu impacto na inovação. Expõe a diversidade organizational das firmas. Três conjuntos ou pacotes de práticas organizationais são identificados como “sistemas das práticas HRM e de KM”. Caracterizamos, respectivamente, (i) firmas tradicionais na organização do trabalho; (ii) firmas usando práticas de gestão de pessoal com incentivos e (iii) firmas de aprendizagem, adicionando aos incentivos práticas de gerência do conhecimento. Correspondem aos modelos organizationais teóricos, includindo arquiteturas organizationais modernas, baseadas em incentivos para desenvolver competências e conhecimento, sem deixar de lado firmas inspiradas em tayloring. Os resultados empíricos permitem concluir que os pacotes das práticas de HRM e de KM produzem significativo e positivo impacto no desempenho da inovação, quando mudanças marginais em práticas individuais dão pouco resultado. Além disso, a fim de confirmar tais complementariedades, concentramo-nos em quatro práticas específicas usadas, principalmente, por firmas: gerência da equipe, dos incentivos, do treinamento e do conhecimento. Empregamos novo procedimento, baseado no conceito de supermodularidade, para estudar a complementaridade e a substitutabilidade em casos onde práticas organizationais múltiplas afetam o desempenho inovativo. Este procedimento baseia-se na limitação múltipla da desigualdade. Nossos resultados sugerem que as firmas usam certas práticas de maneira comum e sistematicamente, que explicam sinergias existentes. O resultado confirma a noção de que a gerência do conhecimento é mais eficaz quando acompanhada pela organização da equipe e por incentivos conjuntos. Isto implica na construção de maior integração entre as teorias da agência e dos incentivos e as teorias baseadas em competências e em conhecimento.

Palavras-chave: gerência de conhecimento; recursos humanos; inovação; complementaridade; supermodularidade.


1 Associate Professor at the BURGUNDY SCHOOL OF BUSINESS.In: Dijon- Paris. Email: FGalia@escdijon.com. Associate Researcher – ERMES – UMR 7881 – CNRS – Université Panthéon-Assas Paris II.


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