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Geographies of Knowledge Formation in Firms


  • Ash Amin
  • Patrick Cohendet


This paper focuses on the spatial dimension of learning in firms. It works with important new insights in economic geography that stress the role of spatial proximity and territorial embeddedness in the process of knowledge formation, but it also seeks to go beyond them by recognizing learning based on relations at a distance. The paper defines space as a network of both contiguous and non-contiguous relations of varying length, shape and duration, where knowing can involve all manner of spatial mobilizations, including placements of task teams in neutral spaces, face-to-face encounters, global networks held together by travel and virtual communications, flows of ideas and information through the supply chain, and trans-corporate thought experiments and symbolic rituals.

Suggested Citation

  • Ash Amin & Patrick Cohendet, 2005. "Geographies of Knowledge Formation in Firms," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(4), pages 465-486.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:indinn:v:12:y:2005:i:4:p:465-486 DOI: 10.1080/13662710500381658

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Langlois, Richard N., 2002. "Modularity in technology and organization," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 19-37, September.
    2. Vincent Frigant, 2002. "Geographical proximity and supplying relationships in modular production," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(4), pages 742-755, December.
    3. Timothy J. Sturgeon, 2002. "Modular production networks: a new American model of industrial organization," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(3), pages 451-496, June.
    4. Vincent Frigant, 2005. "Vanishing hand versus Systems integrators - Une revue de la littérature sur l'impact organisationnel de la modularité," Revue d'Économie Industrielle, Programme National Persée, vol. 109(1), pages 29-52.
    5. Richard N. Langlois, 2003. "The vanishing hand: the changing dynamics of industrial capitalism," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 351-385, April.
    6. Langlois, Richard N. & Robertson, Paul L., 1992. "Networks and innovation in a modular system: Lessons from the microcomputer and stereo component industries," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 297-313, August.
    7. Richard N. Langlois, 2004. "Competition through Institutional Form: the Case of Cluster Tool Standards," Working papers 2004-10, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    8. Frenken, Koen, 2000. "A complexity approach to innovation networks. The case of the aircraft industry (1909-1997)," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 257-272, February.
    9. Bonaccorsi, Andrea & Giuri, Paola, 2001. "The long-term evolution of vertically-related industries," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(7), pages 1053-1083, July.
    10. Brusoni, Stefano & Prencipe, Andrea, 2001. "Unpacking the Black Box of Modularity: Technologies, Products and Organizations," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(1), pages 179-205, March.
    11. Ulrich, Karl, 1995. "The role of product architecture in the manufacturing firm," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 419-440, May.
    12. Schaefer, Scott, 1999. "Product design partitions with complementary components," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 311-330, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pedro Monteiro & Teresa de Noronha & Paulo Neto, 2013. "A Differentiation Framework for Maritime Clusters: Comparisons across Europe," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(9), pages 1-30, September.
    2. Pedro Valadas Monteiro, 2016. "The role of knowledge-intensive service activities on inducing innovation in co-opetition strategies: lessons from the maritime cluster of the Algarve region," International Journal of Management and Enterprise Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 15(1), pages 78-95.
    3. Rune Dahl Fitjar & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 2017. "Nothing is in the Air," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1), pages 22-39, March.
    4. Torre Dominique & Dominique Dufour & Eric Nasica, 2016. "Clusters et efficacité du capital-risque : une analyse des stratégies différenciées des fonds indépendants et des fonds industriels," Post-Print halshs-01576777, HAL.
    5. Ram Mudambi, 2013. "Location, control and firm innovation: the case of the mobile handset industry," Chapters,in: Handbook of Industry Studies and Economic Geography, chapter 9, pages 230-252 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Hautala, Johanna & Jauhiainen, Jussi S., 2014. "Spatio-temporal processes of knowledge creation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 655-668.
    7. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:2:p:289-:d:128443 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Chaminade, Cristina, 2012. "Exploring the role of regional innovation systems and institutions in global innovation networks," Papers in Innovation Studies 2011/15, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    9. Marco Bellandi, 2009. "Regions, Nations and Beyond In Marshallian External Economies," Working Papers - Economics wp2009_13.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
    10. Grillitsch, Markus & Nilsson , Magnus, 2013. "Technological competencies and firm performance: Analyzing the importance of internal and external competencies," Papers in Innovation Studies 2013/24, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    11. Lisa Östbring & Rikard Eriksson & Urban Lindgren, 2015. "Relatedness through experience: On the importance of collected worker experiences for plant performance," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1530, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Sep 2015.
    12. Nilsson, Magnus & Mattes, Jannika, 2013. "The spatiality of trust – Antecedents of trust and the role of face-to-face contacts," Papers in Innovation Studies 2013/16, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    13. Rachel Bocquet & Sébastien Brion & Caroline Mothe, 2013. "Gouvernance et innovation au sein des technopôles : le cas de Savoie Technolac," Post-Print hal-00915161, HAL.
    14. Markus Grillitsch & Magnus Nilsson, 2015. "Innovation in peripheral regions: Do collaborations compensate for a lack of local knowledge spillovers?," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 54(1), pages 299-321, January.
    15. Björn T. Asheim & Markus Grillitsch & Michaela Trippl, 2016. "Regional innovation systems: past – present – future," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Geographies of Innovation, chapter 2, pages 45-62 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    16. Anna Butzin & Brigitta Widmaier, 2012. "The Study of Time-Space Dynamics of Knowledge with Innovation Biographies," Working Papers on Innovation and Space 2012-07, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    17. Chaminade, Cristina & Vang, Jan, 2008. "Globalisation of knowledge production and regional innovation policy: Supporting specialized hubs in the Bangalore software industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 1684-1696, December.
    18. Frank van der Wouden & David L. Rigby, 2017. "Co-inventor Networks and Knowledge Production in Specialized and Diversified Cities," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1715, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Jun 2017.


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