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Innovation in symbolic industries: the geography and organisation of knowledge sourcing

This paper deals with geographical and organisational patterns of knowledge flows in the media industry of southern Sweden, an industry that is characterised by a strong ‘symbolic’ knowledge base. Aim is to address the question of the local versus the non-local as the prime arena for knowledge exchange, and to examine the organisational patterns of knowledge sourcing with specific attention paid to the nature of the knowledge sourced. Symbolic industries draw heavily on creative production and a cultural awareness that is strongly embedded in the local context; thus knowledge flows and networks are expected to be most of all locally configured, and firms to rely on informal knowledge sources rather than scientific knowledge or principles. Based on structured and semi-structured interviews with firm representatives, these assumptions are empirically assessed through social network analysis and descriptive statistics. Our findings show that firms rely above all on knowledge that is generated in project work through learning-by-doing and by interaction with other firms in localised networks. The analysis contributes to transcending the binary arguments on the role of geography for knowledge exchange which tend to dominate the innovation studies literature.

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Paper provided by Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy in its series Papers in Innovation Studies with number 2010/7.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: 01 Feb 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:lucirc:2010_007
Contact details of provider: Postal: CIRCLE, Lund University, PO Box 117, SE-22100 Lund, Sweden
Phone: +46 (0) 46 222 74 68
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  1. Franz Tödtling & Patrick Lehner & Alexander Kaufmann, 2008. "Do Different Types of Innovation Rely on Specific Kinds of Knowledge Interactions?," SRE-Disc sre-disc-2008_01, Institute for Multilevel Governance and Development, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business.
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