Ms Marianna Marra

Doctoral Student

Operations and Information Management Group

Thesis Title

Knowledge Management Practices for Knowledge Transfer in Industrial Firms

Research Interest

  • Knowledge flows, knowledge transfer, knowledge creation.
  • Absorbtive capacity
  • Business network
  • Theory of the firm
  • Knowledge Economy

Research Description

The aim of my research is to study the knowledge transfer process within the supply chain.  It intends to map the knowledge flows among actors of the supply chain through the use of the social network analysis methodology.  More specifically, the aim of my research is twofold.  On the one hand it intends to study the knowledge network within the supply chain in order to manage and improve knowledge flows and, on the other hand, to reach a taxonomy of knowledge management practices for nurturing and accumulating knowledge resources for competitive advantage and value creation.  The goal of this mapping activity will be to trace knowledge flows and to find accumulating knowledge nodes within the supply chain.  The study will be conducted in UK and in Italy.  The map of the knowledge flows will provide the representation of the actual knowledge network within the supply chain.  The knowledge transfer issue in the contemporary supply chain is related to problems such as the knowledge fragmentation and knowledge dispersion.

The first step of my research activity was to develop a literature review to understand the state of the art, contributing to the current debate on the role of knowledge management in supply chain management.  The literature review identified various theoretical and methodological characteristics of the way in which knowledge management applications are proposed in supply chain context.

I'm currently interested in applying the social network analysis in the automotive sector.  Thus, at present I'm designing a questionnaire to submit it to a sample of UK and Italian firm.  The expected result is the comparison between the formal supply chain and the informal knowledge network of relationships.  This output and a series of interviews may reveal how the structure of organizations can impede knowledge flows.  Therefore the research will enhance supply chain competitiveness through effective management of internal and external knowledge.  The research will provide practitioners with new insights in order to better manage the complex process of knowledge transfer within the supply chain.  The study will allow companies to assess and improve their practices and it will provide managers with a new tool for improving knowledge flows and creating innovation processes.

As a first result of my research progress, in October I presented the paper "Managing the knowledge transfer process cross the supply chain: a social network approach" (with W. Ho and J. Edwards) to The 8th International Conference on Supply Chain Management and Information Systems (SCMIS2010) Hong Kong, China, 6th October 2010.

I am also engaged in a research on the relationship between innovation and organization.  My key research interests focus on the organizational implications of knowledge management strategies, the measurement of knowledge creation and the evolution of business models.


Professor John Edwards and Dr William Ho

Background and Qualifications

Marianna earned a Ph.D. in Communication Science at the University of Salerno, Italy.  Her previous research focussed on the Social network analysis in organisation studies.  Her current research analyses the theme of knowledge transfer among business networks.

Teaching Responsibilities

Teaching Fellow in Organisation Theory, University of Campobasso, Italy, 2009

Membership of Professional Societies

European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management - EIASM

Other Relevant Information

Research Fellow: Information and Communication Technology for Information Society, 2006-2009

Conferences and Other Presentations

  • Marra M., "Main policies issue for industry's development", Workshop ARS 07, Social Network Analysis, University of Salerno, Italy.
  • Marra M., Napolitano P., Perna S., (2008) "Making visible social networks.  Representation, space and diagrams in Social Network Analysis" 15-17 May 2008, Ghent University, International Conference ANALOGOUS SPACES: Architecture and the space of information, intellect and action.
  • Marra M., Persico P., "Fiat verso l'In-dustria. Dal market chain al non market chain come bisogno strategico temporanea." Industrie, Governi e Crisi Globale, Convegno di Economia e Politica Industriale XXIII edizione.  Universita di Ferrara 25-26 settembre 2009.
  • Marra M., Vittoria P., "Formal versus informal networks in SME's organizational settings.  Case studies using Social Network Analysis." RENT XXIII - RESEARCH IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND SMALL BUSINESS. Budapest 19-20 november 2009.
  • Marra, M., W. Ho, J. Edwards, "Managing the knowledge transfer process across the supply chain: a social network approach", THE 8TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS (SCMIS2010), Hong Kong, China, 6th October 2010.
  • Marra, M., Persico, P., "Combining the Resource-based view and Stakeholder theory for studying the firm's network characteristics", 1ST INTERDISCIPLINARY CONFERENCE ON STAKEHOLDERS, RESOURCES AND VALUE CREATION, IESE Business School, Barcelona Campus, Spain, 7-8 June 2011.
  • Marra, M. "The relation between firm's informal network, knowledge transfer and innovation", THE 56TH ANNUAL ICSB WORLD CONFERENCE CHANGES IN PERSPECTIVE OF GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND INNOVATION, Stockholm 2011.


  • Marianna Marra, William Ho and John Edwards, "Supply chain knowledge management: A literature review", Expert System with Applications, In Press.
  • Marra M., "Il progetto del brand", in Tozzi G. (a cura di), Oggetti e processi del design, Plectica, pp 181-199, ISBN 88-888 13-23-3.
  • Marra M., (2009) Main policies issue for industry's development, in Analisi delle Reti Sociali: per Conoscere uno Strumento, uno Strumento per conoscere Collana Scientifica di Ateneo, University of Salerno, Italy, pp. 91-107, ISBN 978-88-498-2557-2.
  • Marra M., (2009) Il Vantaggio Competitivo Localizzato e il Paradigma ICKCT, Department of Economics and Statistics, University of Salerno, n 29, ISBN 978-88-6197-035-9.


Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research