Knowledge use in business exchange : Acting and thinking business actors

Sammanfattning: How could we describe the process by which business knowledge is mediated, developed, shared, and applied during interaction between business actors? This is the main question around which the discussion in this thesis about industrial business exchange revolves. The purpose of the thesis is twofold. Firstly, to develop a theoretical framework within which business studies could be geared towards behavioural and cognitive aspects of interaction and knowledge use in business exchange. Secondly, to use the outlined framework in order to discuss the behavioural and cognitive factors on which the success of business exchange is dependent.The thesis outlines a theory of business exchange that underlines the need for business actors to make use of knowledge about customers' needs and knowledge about their own production capabilities in order to develop new offerings to the market. It is in the thesis argued that the possibility to achieve this simultaneous use of knowledge is dependent on the way business actors interact during the exchange.With reference to socio-cognitive theory it is proposed that effective use of knowledge is achieved when the interaction between business actors contains task-focused dialogue concerning how to improve the actual exchange, as well as collaborative attempts to realize these improvements. These two aspects of the interaction between business actors are in the thesis labelled task-driven communication and task-driven co-action.Results from two statistical analyses demonstrate that the ability of business actors to make use of knowledge in order to improve their businesses is enhanced when task-driven communication and task-driven co-action is established. More precisely, if the interaction between the customer and the supplier is organized so that frequent contacts between individuals representing different knowledge areas in the companies is secured, and if adaptations between the companies are made, the value created by the exchange is improved.

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