Recombination of Knowledge Components and Knowledge Impact : Neighboring Components Versus Distant Components

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

2 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations


Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationIEEE Transactions on Engineering Management
Publication statusOnline published - 13 Nov 2021


To date, existing studies have produced inconclusive empirical findings as to whether search scope impedes or benefits knowledge impact. To reconcile this controversy, we scrutinize the role of search scope and delve into the combination of knowledge components. Specifically, in this article, we propose that search scope connotes recombination of two types of novel components (i.e., recombining neighboring components or distant components). Drawing on the recombinant search and decomposability literature, we argue that recombining neighboring knowledge components is conducive to knowledge impact because these components provide absorbable variation and integration mechanisms, whereas recombining distant knowledge components impedes knowledge impact as the resultant outcome is difficult to understand and the value is not perceived. To empirically test these arguments, we draw on network function theory and develop a novel approach to build knowledge networks looking at the relatedness of knowledge components. Applying this method to data on patents granted from 1995 to 2009, we identify neighboring components and distant components as two related but different novel knowledge components. The results strongly support our hypotheses, even when controlling for the patent, inventor, as well as examiner level of covariates.

Research Area(s)

  • Art, Encoding, Knowledge engineering, Knowledge impact, network theory, novel knowledge components, patent analysis, Patents, Production, search scope, Technological innovation, Windows