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Codified-tacit and general-specific knowledge in the division of labour among firms: A study of the software industry

  • Grimaldi, Rosa
  • Torrisi, Salvatore

This paper addresses the organisation and codification of knowledge in the software industry. It analyses various economic incentives to codification, including the need to improve the productivity and quality of software production processes and to access inter-firm collaborations. The paper examines the experience of four Italian software firms specialised in software packages and services. It compares their capabilities, the main sources of tacit knowledge, their specific incentives to invest in knowledge codification, their usage of formal software development methodologies and quality control systems. Finally, the paper analyses two distinct technological collaborations that two of these firms have recently established.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research Policy.

Volume (Year): 30 (2001)
Issue (Month): 9 (December)
Pages: 1425-1442

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Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:30:y:2001:i:9:p:1425-1442
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/respol

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  1. Cowan, Robin & David, Paul A & Foray, Dominique, 2000. "The Explicit Economics of Knowledge Codification and Tacitness," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 211-53, June.
  2. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1988. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial R&D," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 862, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  3. Arora, Ashish & Gambardella, Alfonso, 1994. "The changing technology of technological change: general and abstract knowledge and the division of innovative labour," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 523-532, September.
  4. Salvatore Torrisi, 1996. "Firm specialisation and growth. A study of the european software industry," LIUC Papers in Economics 35, Cattaneo University (LIUC).
  5. Richard Nelson, 1962. "The Link Between Science and Invention: The Case of the Transistor," NBER Chapters, in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 549-584 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Malerba, Franco & Orsenigo, Luigi, 1996. "Schumpeterian patterns of innovation are technology-specific," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 451-478, May.
  7. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1987. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial Research and Development," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(3), pages 783-832.
  8. Josh Lerner & Jean Triole, 2000. "The Simple Economics of Open Source," NBER Working Papers 7600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Michael C. Jensen & William H. Heckling, 1995. "Specific And General Knowledge, And Organizational Structure," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 8(2), pages 4-18.
  10. Rosenberg, Nathan, 1990. "Why do firms do basic research (with their own money)?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 165-174, April.
  11. Winter, Sidney G, 1988. "On Coase, Competence, and the Corporation," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 163-80, Spring.
  12. Cusumano, Michael A., 1992. "Shifting economies: From craft production to flexible systems and software factories," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 453-480, October.
  13. Bengt-ake Lundvall & Bjorn Johnson, 1994. "The Learning Economy," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(2), pages 23-42.
  14. Cowan, Robin & Foray, Dominique, 1997. "The Economics of Codification and the Diffusion of Knowledge," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(3), pages 595-622, September.
  15. 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.
  16. Teece, David J., 1993. "Profiting from technological innovation: Implications for integration, collaboration, licensing and public policy," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 112-113, April.
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