Within a practice-based approach of organizations, we explore the knowing integration phenomena at the roots of competitive advantage. While former knowing integration studies have pointed to the importance of boundary objects across occupational communities, knowing integration inside a community to ground competitive advantage remains to be explored. How do individuals integrate their knowing in practice, in complex and important situations in order to contribute to competitive advantage for the firm? We ground our analysis on the ethnographic study of performed tasks in new dishes creation in two gourmet restaurants. We trace individual knowing in this creation to highlight how a new dish emerges from knowing integration, based on our understanding of knowing as processual, social, and situated. We propose a model of knowing integration as a combination of three phenomena: comprehending, interpreting and explicitating. We show that integration leads to the development of new dishes while knowing remains largely individual. We therefore suggest that there exists a clear distinction between knowing integration and knowledge sharing or transfer. We also contribute to a clearer delineation between integration and explicitation, the latter being only one and secondary means to achieve the former. Our study advances practice-based studies of organizations by highlighting the central role of integration in knowing dynamics and by bridging micro and macro perspectives on practice.
BOUTY, I. and GOMEZ, M.L. (2009). Unpacking Knowing Integration: A Practice-based Study in Haute Cuisine. ESSEC Business School.