Purpose: The role of inter-organizational knowledge mechanisms (IOKMs) in learning networks is increasing so that the competition of business networks in providing innovations is highly dependent on the effective selection and application of these mechanisms. This study aims to argue that recognizing the classification of IOKMs and understanding their impact on networking capability (NC) makes the selection of mechanisms more effective. Design/methodology/approach: With a systematic review of literature, a comprehensive list of IOKMs, their main characteristics and NCs have been extracted. The authors have used a focus group for data gathering and a hybrid multi-layer decision-making approach for data analysis. Finally, the impact of IOKMs on NC was determined. Findings: By implementing a multi-layer decision-making approach, four categories of IOKMs including person-to-person, co-creation, team-oriented and informational are illustrated and their effects of NC are determined. Therefore, the findings of this research provide latecomer firms (LCFs) managers with a clear framework for selecting IOKMs. Originality/value: The literature review shows that the number of knowledge mechanisms, especially their inter-organizational types, is increasing. It has made it difficult for LCFs managers to select effective and efficient mechanisms. Most of these mechanisms are listed, and few studies have classified them. Besides, research shows that fewer studies have investigated how IOKMs relate to NC. Furthermore, most studies on IOKMs have been conducted in the context of leading firms and LCFs have been neglected.
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