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The carriage of tradition : Knowledge and its past in network contexts

Hibbert, P.C. and Huxham, C. (2010) The carriage of tradition : Knowledge and its past in network contexts. Management Learning, 42 (1). pp. 7-24. ISSN 1350-5076

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In this article we address a key tension in the literature. That is, whether the knowledge status of a tradition is largely preserved passively, under tradition's own authority, or alternatively preserved through deliberate, individual interpretive acts. Through empirical research in three network contexts, we show that both authority and interpretation have a role in the preservation of traditionalized knowledge and that three distinct modes of carriage (or preservation) can be observed. These modes involve different intent orientations (purposive or passive intentions about the use of traditionalized knowledge) and enactment styles, which may be either assertive (deliberately persuasive) or assumptive ('rightness' is assumed, not argued). From these theoretical extensions, implications for tradition theory, as well as knowledge, learning and understanding for managers involved in networks, are developed.