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Utilizing Market Knowledge to Create Competitive Advantage in the Interface of Inter- and Intra-Organizational Coopetition: Case Study: An SME in the Information Security Industry
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

It has been widely acknowledged that today’s business world is characterized by severe competition. To remain competitive, firms have to employ alternative strategies to keep up with the fast paced development. One such strategy is coopetition; firms collaborate in some areas to combine their resources while competing in other areas. Thus, instead of trying to master everything within a company’s own walls, emphasis is towards gaining access to external resources and coordinating the wide array of expertise in the best possible way to achieve competitive advantage. In addition, growing requirements from the customer end force firms to combine their resources to be able to put together tailored solutions. This entails a notable customer input in product development and firm’s ability to utilize market knowledge can not be undermined. However, before the feedback gained from the market can act as a source of competitive edge, it has to be further processed into a form in which it offers strategic value for the company.

This research aims to study how market knowledge is utilized to create competitive in the interface of inter- and intra-organizational coopetition. Even though competition is often considered to take place between firms, competitive elements can also be found within firms. For that reason, we include both inter- and intra-organizational coopetition in the research. In terms of the process involved in market knowledge utilization, three steps are appointed; transfer, translation and transformation of knowledge.

To perform the research, we selected a high technology company belonging to SME category present in the information security business as case company. Six semi-structured interviews were conducted on three different occasions. Due to the sensitive nature of the research topic, the case company remains anonymous and is referred to as Case Company in the research. By ensuring respondents’ anonymity, the gained responses are more likely to be honest and thus more reliable and comprehensive.

The empirical findings revealed differences in market knowledge utilization between inter- and intra-organizational coopetition. While coopetition taking place between firms was characterized with dominating competitive element and protection of one’s own assets, only preliminary stages of market knowledge utilization were found to be present. This entailed that knowledge transformation was absent in the inter-organizational context. On the other hand, on the intra-organizational level a collective approach to knowledge coordination was employed and attention had been paid on establishing sufficient structural conditions to support the knowledge utilization process. Thus, the process within the company was more efficient and it completed the knowledge utilization process at the inter-organizational level as knowledge transformation took place only within Case Company.

While coopetition is a rather new field of study, we believe that the performed research provided information on inter- and intra-organizational coopetition in an SME present in the high technology industry and gave insights of the knowledge exchange both within and across companies. In the end, we have built up a model including the most important findings of the study. The figure entails the market knowledge utilization processes visualized in both inter- and intra-organizational contexts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 110 p.
Keyword [en]
Coopetition, market knowledge, market knowledge utilization process, market orientation, information security
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-84251OAI: diva2:681143
Available from: 2013-12-19 Created: 2013-12-19 Last updated: 2013-12-19Bibliographically approved

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