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Linking Knowledge Management to Business Models beyond Borders

Special issue call for papers from Journal of Knowledge Management

The submission portal for this special issue will open August, 2019

Guest Editors
Professor Tachia CHIN, College of Economics and Management, Zhejiang University of Technology, China
Professor Shouyang WANG, School of Economics and Management, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
Professor Chris ROWLEY, Kellogg College, University of Oxford, UK and Cass Business School, City, University of London, UK

Supervising Editor
Professor Hao JIAO, Business School, Beijing Normal University

Along with the advancement of digital and internet technologies as well as the accelerated flows of global capitals and resources, there have emerged more and more new forms of value creation in business through devising innovative business models catering to multilateral markets and applicable across industries and national boundaries, such as shared economy, open-innovation paradigms and other a variety of internet-enabled platforms (Jiao et al., 2016; Scuotto et al., 2017; Chin and Rowley, 2018a).  Despite these contemporary ideas are still at their earl stage of development, they reflect a common ground that knowledge management (KM), particularly the practice involving complex processes of cross-border information transfer, creation and integration plays a critical role in determining the success of the new types of boundaryless business models mentioned above.

It is recognized that the development of capabilities to effectively manage knowledge transcending borders can be very instrumental for multinational corporations (MNCs) to undertake business model innovation and pursue sustainability in the international landscape (Fjeldstad and Snow, 2018; Del Giudice and Maggioni, 2014; Amit and Zott, 2012; Teece, 2010; Nonaka and Toyama, 2003).  Evidence also indicates that an increasing number of entrepreneurial firms are drawing on the emerging new, boundaryless business models as a springboard to quickly and easily stride over local institutional constraints and thereby gain access to valuable resources and sustainable competitive advantages outside their home markets. Viewed from this angle, cross-border knowledge seems be able to help firms better shape their business models to fit misaligned institutional contexts— which as a matter of fact may provide possible solutions towards a long-existing conundrum for international entrepreneurship and venturing, namely about coping with the complex set of legitimacy pressures in the contexts of multiple institutional logics (Tracey, Dalpiaz, and Phillips, 2018).

However, despite the vital linkage of KM and business models is observed, there has been a scarcity of research explicitly relating KM to the fields of business models.  It may be attributed to that KM transcending the traditional organizational boundaries is far more intricate and dynamic—— The multi-lateral market logics and the corresponding interdependence and interactions between human agency and social structures are usually abstruse as the stakeholders of the whole business models may come from various cultural and institutional environments, who often show significant differences in cognition when sharing, interpreting and making sense of cross-border information (Chin et al., 2018).  As a result, the characteristics, the processes and the essence of KM in the context of boundaryless business models may largely differ from that in the literature.  Whereas the issues raised above are still under-researched, it is imperative to fill the gaps by doing research at the intersection of business models and KM beyond boundaries. 

This special section, therefore, aims to achieve a more holistic understanding of the various linkages and interacting mechanisms of KM with business models from broader, more systematic and integrative perspectives (e.g., cross-cultural and inter-disciplinary views).  We encourage authors to adopt or build novel and contemporary knowledge-based theories exploring how the development of innovative business models can help deal with today’s ever-deepening challenges of globalization and uncertainties across diversified cultures and institutional systems. We also expect authors to provide fresh evidence and reveal new insights that can bridge the gap between theory and practice, and sincerely invite submissions related, but not necessarily limited, to the following themes:

  • What are the new forms and processes of cross-border knowledge creation, transfer and synthesis in today’s boundaryless competitive environment (e.g., multi-cultural, multi-linguistic and multi-institutional logic contexts)?  How are these emerging new ideas conductive to business model innovation? Any new conceptualization of relevant terms?
  • What role does cross-border KM play in terms of different types of MNCs (e.g., different industries or ownerships)? How does it affect the survival, growth, and governance of the business models of such MNCs?  
  • How does cross-border knowledge sourcing, learning, assimilating, creating, synthesizing and creation affect business model innovation across borders?  In what way? Through what mechanisms?  What kinds of innovation activities will be mostly influenced and how to evaluable these effects?
  • What are the relationships among cross-border KM, business model innovation and MNCs’ acculturation?
  • How to identify, explore and even rationalize the value logics of the innovative, boundaryless business models (e.g., shared economy, open-innovation paradigms and other internet-enabled platforms) based on the creation of new knowledge or the novel synthesis of existing knowledge?
  • How do the characteristics of individuals and groups influence cross-border KM and the development of boundaryless business models? 
  • What is role of leadership in managing knowledge in the context of boundaryless business models? Will a firm’s human capital matter?
  • What are the interacting mechanisms among technology, strategy and KM and how they impact on the development of business models beyond boundaries? What role do organizational dynamic capabilities play in the mechanisms?  

Submission deadline: November 30, 2019
Decisions: March 31, 2020
Publication: expected from mid/end 2020

Submissions should be accompanied by an assurance of originality and exclusivity and should adhere to the ‘Style and Format’ author guidelines that can be found on the journal’s website at:

All submissions are through the online submission system ScholarOne. Full submission details are in the author guidelines. Please ensure you submit to this special issue using the drop-down menu on ScholarOne. All submissions will be subject to a rigorous double-blind peer review process, with one or more of the guest editors acting as action editor. As a JKM publishing rule, every paper submitted to the Special Issue is firstly screened and validated by the Editor-in-Chief or by the Supervising Editor for compliance with the Special Issue topics and with the general aims and scope of the JKM. Unsuitable submitted papers will be rejected prior to be assigned to the Guest Editors. Every paper accepted by the Guest Editor should anyway be finally approved for publication by the Editor-in-Chief.
For further information, please contact any of the guest editors for this special section:

Professor Tachia CHIN: 
Professor Shouyang WANG:
Professor Chris ROWLEY:


Amit, R. and Zott, C. (2012), “Creating value through business model innovation”, MIT Sloan Management Review, Vol. 53 No. 3, pp. 41-49.
Barner-Rasmussen, W., Ehrnrooth, M., Koveshnikov, A., and Mäkelä, K., 2014. Cultural and language skills as resources for boundary spanning within the MNC, Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 45 No. 97, pp. 886-905.
Chin, T., and Rowley, C. (2018a), “Challenges for manufacturing in China”, in Chin and Rowley (Eds.), The future of Chinese manufacturing: Employment and labour challenges, Elsevier, Netherlands, pp. 5-24.
Chin, T., Rowley, C., Redding, G., and Wang, S. (2018b), “Chinese strategic thinking on competitive conflict: insights from Yin-Yang harmony cognition”, International Journal of Conflict Management, DOI:10.1108/ijcma-09-2017-0101
Del Giudice, M., Maggioni, V. (2014) "Managerial practices and operative directions of knowledge management within inter-firm networks: a global view", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 18 No. 5, pp.841-846.
Fjeldstad, Q. D., and Snow, C. C. (2018), “Business models and organization design”, Long Range Planning, Vol. 51, pp. 32-39.
Jiao, H., Zhou, J., Gao, T., and Liu, X.  (2016). The More Interactions the Better? The Moderating Effect of the Interaction between Local Producers and Users of Knowledge on the relationship between R&D Investment and Regional Innovation Systems”, Technological Forecasting and Social Change. Vol. 110 pp. 13-20.
Nonaka, I. and Toyama, R. (2003). “Knowledge-creating theory revisited: knowledge creation as a synthesizing process”, Knowledge Management Research & Practice Vol. 1 No1. pp.2–10.
Rowley, C., and I. Poon. 2011. “Knowledge Management.” In HRM: The Key Concepts, edited by C. Rowley and K. Jackson, pp. 142–416. London: Routledge.
Scuotto, V., Del Giudice, M., Bresciani, S., and Meissner, D. (2017).
“Knowledge-driven preferences in informal inbound open innovation modes”,
Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 21. No. 3, pp. 640-655.
Teece, D. J. (2010), “Business Models, Business Strategy and Innovation”, Long Range Planning, Vol. 43, pp. 172-194.