PRACTICES' AND PATH-DEPENDENCY
CRIC, The University of Gatwick
Professor Pole Coombs & Richard Hull
CRIC Dialogue Paper Not any 2
Middle for Study on Advancement and Competition
The University or college of Stansted
Tom Lupton Suite
University Precinct Middle
Oxford Road, Manchester
*The authors gratefully acknowledge the support from the
ESRC through its ‘Research Programme in Innovation' for the work where this daily news is based.
1 ) INTRODUCTION
Progressively more researchers and commentators have recently been turning their focus on 'knowledge management'1, and particularly the role of knowledge management in innovation2. It seems that there are two major root influences which are at work in these discussions, and they have both equally complementary and contradictory features.
The initially these influences can be seen as 'internal' to innovation analysis and it is the literature which in turn synthesises the received conclusions of 'innovation studies' in an major economics point of view on specialized change. The central feature of this improve our purposes is the weaving together of the discovered path habbit of innovation, with the firmspecificity of the exercises which make innovation. For instance , Metcalfe & de Liso3 elaborate the idea that a business product will have a particular 'normal style configuration', a shared mental framework of fundamental design concepts concerning specific technologies, providing the 'operational route' to particular artefacts. Hence the perspective from this literature backlinks knowledge to innovation by simply focusing on firm-specific routines which stabilise selected bodies expertise, embed them in the shared understandings in the firm, and give templates for deploying that knowledge to make innovations that have a distinctive efficiency 'signature'.
The second underlying affect in the 'knowledge management' materials has arisen at the program of innovation research and management exploration. It comes from the recognized increase in significance of knowledge being a factor of production and as a driving force in wider changes in the characteristics of contemporary financial systems, and in the enterprises which usually operate in those economies. One of the key reference points in the introduction of a new focus on 'knowledge management' in enterprises may be the work of Nonaka4. Coming originally by empirical studies of new application in Western firms, Nonaka has developed a model of the various ways in which organisations create know-how and provides suggested a mode of managing and an organisational framework for best controlling the knowledge creation process, particularly the 'hypertext organisation'. Central to the style (as without a doubt to much other work on knowledge management) is Eileen Polanyi's distinction between tacit and explicit knowledge. Nonaka argues that tacit and explicit knowledge can be transformed from one to the other, great main target is controlling the interactions between the four 'modes of knowledge conversion'. An additional major factor is Dorothy Leonard-Barton5 who have bases her discussion
more firmly for the 'core competence' strategy books and has a focus on what she cell phone calls " the full system of expertise management" (ibid, pp 271-2, original emphasis), which is found to be an integral element of competitive advantage, or 'core technological capability'. Her specific interest is in the 'key knowledge-building' activities
shared problem solving,
implementing and integrating fresh technical processes and tools, experimenting and prototyping, and importing and absorbing technological and marketplace knowledge.
In lots of ways, these two viewpoints - the evolutionary economics perspective plus the 'knowledge-centred-model from the enterprise' - are compatible with one another. At the very least it might be argued they may have considerable potential to enrich and illuminate the other person....