Knowledge, Learning, Networks and Performance of Firms in Knowledge-Based Economies
This essay aims at analyzing the factors which are strategic for the performance of firms in knowledge based economies. The essay follows a theoretical perspective along the Schumpeterian tradition, but different from mainstream economics. The theoretical literature on the economics of knowledge, on industrial organization and on strategic management studies, has focused the analysis on the process of generation of knowledge and its consequences for innovation, on the mechanism of knowledge diffusion and its crucial relationship with learning, on the capabilities possessed by the firms and also on the important role of networks. Here, I focus on the crucial role of learning, on the importance of creating new knowledge as the basic source of competitive advantage, on the relevance of the environment, on the external relationships, on the essential function of open scientific knowledge. I also point out the complexity of knowledge, since mastering new knowledge for the firm is an extremely complex process. Finally, I look at the networks and investigate the rationale of networking, therefore I treat the issue of competition/collaboration duality, since alliance is also a complex phenomenon, where collaborative behaviours and competitive relations coexist; a more eclectic view is, thus, offered on this issue with the aim to provide a new theoretical framework of inter-firm relations.
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