PhD Defence Roos Erkelens

Erkelens, Roos 2ROOS ERKELENS
Knowledge, Information, and Networks

Dissertation Title
Managing knowledge in dispersed R&D settings: a qualitative study of management challenges and insights from practice

Date & Location
16 June 2014 @ 11:45 in the Aula of the Main Building of the VU University Amsterdam


Managing knowledge in dispersed R&D settings: a qualitative study of management challenges and insights from practice

Erkelens, Roos


For globally dispersed R&D organizations, locally created knowledge offers unique and valuable insights that help create new technologies and potentially improve organizational learning throughout the organization. A challenge for such organizations lies in stimulating the creation of such locally embedded knowledge, while also managing to implement that specific knowledge more universally into the larger organization. 

How does management bridge between creating embedded local knowledge while at the same time making such knowledge less local and more universal for the organization? How do engineers on the work floor cope with dispersed local knowledge? How do they work in geographically dispersed R&D projects? What formal and informal ways of collaborating do they engage in? These questions are addressed through four empirical studies on managing knowledge in dispersed R&D settings.

Taking into account a practice perspective on knowledge, and drawing on organization studies and information management literature, the studies in this dissertation follow an in-depth exploratory and qualitative approach. The analysis and findings of the research shed light on challenges organizations face in managing knowledge in dispersed R&D settings, such as dually managing specialization and integration of local knowledge, and provides several theoretical and practical insights into coping strategies for management.

About the Author

After having studied business administration and information and knowledge management at the VU University Amsterdam, Roos Erkelens (1984) applied for a PhD position at the faculty of Economics and Business Administration, VU University Amsterdam. This position gave her the opportunity to study the subject of managing complex knowledge in geographically dispersed settings. Currently, Rose is interested in the management of dispersed R&D projects, transfer of knowledge across boundaries, micro-level research to managing knowledge and innovation, and the influence of social identity in groups on knowledge sharing and creation.