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Gatekeepers of knowledge within industrial districts:who they are, how they interact

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  • Andrea Morrison

    (University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy,)

Abstract

A great amount of recent studies dealing with industrial clustering suggests that the innovative performance of industrial districts is strictly linked with their ability to absorb external knowledge. This paper aims at identifying and analysing the main actors involved in this process. We investigate to what extent leading firms located within a successful Italian furniture district behave as gatekeepers of knowledge. Empirical analysis has been carried out on a sample of technicians working within firms’ knowledge intensive units. Adopting social network techniques we are able to trace linkages between technicians and external sources of knowledge and to evaluate their relevance for innovative activities. Our findings suggest that leading firms absorb external knowledge and spread it only to their own network of clients and providers. According to our theoretical framework we argue that leading firms cannot be interpreted as knowledge gatekeepers.

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File URL: ftp://ftp.unibocconi.it/pub/RePEc/cri/papers/WP163Morrison.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy in its series KITeS Working Papers with number 163.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2004
Date of revision: Nov 2004
Handle: RePEc:cri:cespri:wp163

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Keywords: Knowledge flows; Industrial districts; Leader firms; Social networks.;

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  1. Stefano Breschi & Francesco Lissoni, 2001. "articles: Localised knowledge spillovers vs. innovative milieux: Knowledge "tacitness" reconsidered," Papers in Regional Science, Springer, vol. 80(3), pages 255-273.
  2. Stefano Breschi & Francesco Lissoni, 2001. "Knowledge spillovers and local innovation systems: a critical survey," LIUC Papers in Economics 84, Cattaneo University (LIUC).
  3. Michael L. Tushman & Ralph Katz, 1980. "External Communication and Project Performance: An Investigation into the Role of Gatekeepers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(11), pages 1071-1085, November.
  4. DeBresson, Chris & Amesse, Fernand, 1991. "Networks of innovators :A review and introduction to the issue," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 363-379, October.
  5. Breschi, Stefano & Malerba, Franco, 2001. "The Geography of Innovation and Economic Clustering: Some Introductory Notes," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(4), pages 817-33, December.
  6. Cowan,Robin & David,Paul & Foray,Dominique, 1999. "The Explicit Economics of Knowledge Codification and Tacitness," Research Memorandum 025, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  7. Cohen, Wesley M & Levinthal, Daniel A, 1989. "Innovation and Learning: The Two Faces of R&D," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 569-96, September.
  8. Lissoni, Francesco, 2001. "Knowledge codification and the geography of innovation: the case of Brescia mechanical cluster," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(9), pages 1479-1500, December.
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