Knowledge Sharing in a Maritime Cluster: How Companies Share Knowledge Through an Open Innovation Process

Sondre Stiklestad

Student thesis: Master thesis


How is knowledge shared through the process of open innovation in a cluster? Purpose – The objective of the thesis was to look into how knowledge is shared through the process of open innovation in a cluster. The term open innovation process refers to the process in which companies acquires and exploit knowledge sources outside of their organisational boundaries. The framework of the thesis is within the notion of the theoretical concepts of “open innovation” and “communities and networks of practice”. Approach – The thesis research this topic through a qualitative study. The empirical data that form the basis of the study was collected through interviews with people working within the cluster. It has also taken use of second hand data in the form of published research and reports of the cluster in order to ensure the validity of the data. Towards the end of the thesis these empirical data is discussed in the context of the theoretical framework in order to provide a nuance insight and understanding. Findings – The thesis found that knowledge is shared through the openness on the vertical axis where the ship owners play an integral role. The process is not a managed process as called for by the definition by Chesbrough but rather a naturally developed process within the cluster that stems from the regional culture. It also found that links towards academia plays an important role both in terms of terms of acquiring and developing new knowledge and in transcending the organisational boundaries of the companies in order for knowledge to flow. Importance/ Value – The findings of the thesis can be used in order to better understand the complex process of knowledge sharing within a cluster. It also exposes a potential risk of disrupting the knowledge flow if integral actors, such as the ship owners relocate out of the cluster. It also shows that knowledge flow follows the openness of organisational boundaries.

EducationsMSocSc in Organisational Innovation and Entrepreneurship , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages87
SupervisorsJuliana Hsuan