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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrea Morrison, 2004. "Gatekeepers of knowledge within industrial districts:who they are, how they interact," KITeS Working Papers 163, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Nov 2004.
  • Handle: RePEc:cri:cespri:wp163
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. R. Paci & E. Batteta, 2003. "Innovation Networks and Knowledge Flows across the European Regions," Working Paper CRENoS 200313, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
    2. Breschi, Stefano & Lissoni, Francesco, 2001. "Knowledge Spillovers and Local Innovation Systems: A Critical Survey," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(4), pages 975-1005, December.
    3. Andrea Morrison, 2005. "Inside the Black Box of ‘Industrial Atmosphere’: Knowledge and Information Networks in an Italian wine local system," Working Papers 97, SEMEQ Department - Faculty of Economics - University of Eastern Piedmont.
    4. 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.
    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 817-833, December.
    6. 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 569-596, September.
    7. 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.
    8. 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 211-253, June.
    9. 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.
    10. Stefano Breschi & Francesco Lissoni, 2001. "articles: Localised knowledge spillovers vs. innovative milieux: Knowledge "tacitness" reconsidered," Papers in Regional Science, Springer;Regional Science Association International, vol. 80(3), pages 255-273.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • R0 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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