WP 1: Institutional Foundations of Knowledge Generation and Exchange
Co-ordinators: Helena Lopes (DINAMIA, PT) and Luigi Marengo (LEM)
The work to be carried out is grounded on one basic idea: knowledge production and sharing is not a purely cognitive process – it also involves social processes. One of these social processes is moral dimension. The rules and procedures that frame interpersonal interactions and governance structures are subject to judgement. The extent to which they are perceived as legitimate and fair is crucial.
Knowledge entails different dimensions (tacit and codified) in which social embedding – communication, social interactions, and social identities, visualization, etc, - has an essential role, contrary to the dominant strand contemporary analysis which interprets the nature of organizations using assumptions of sophisticated, fully rational and self-seeking agents whose behaviours are viewed as directed by market forces. Social communities are the suitable unit of analysis for analysing knowledge-related social processes and these communities may be classified according to their particular practices and to the influence that spatiality has upon them. Knowledge generation and exchange is now widely considered to have a localised character, which may be addressed both in organisational contexts and within inter-organisational networks at the regional level, using frameworks of mutual learning rather than assuming that knowledge transfer is a simple and direct process. The institutional settings where communities emerge and relate with each other (geographically rooted or not) require examination. However, the mainstream analysis of issues such as economic growth and development too often so relies only upon the cognitive dimension of the functioning of communities while neglecting their social and moral dimensions.
These considerations call for a better understanding of 1) what are the motivations that drive agents to work and to contribute with their efforts to collective endeavours, and 2) what are the organisational and governance structures which favour the creation, memorisation and improvement of capabilities and how the latter translate into competitive advantages.