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Social Capital and Regional Innovation Systems – Bridging approaches and broadening understanding of knowledge sharing and innovation

Johnsen, Ingrid Helene Garmann LU (2012)
Abstract
This doctoral thesis takes as a starting point that geographical location remains fundamental to gain competitive advantage for some types of firms and activities even though economic activity in general has become more global. The region is seen as the key level in which the innovative capability of firms is shaped, coordinated and governed. This is in line with the regional innovation systems (RIS) approach to innovation that has been widely accepted in economic geography literature the last decade. However, while there has been a focus on the regional factors that influence innovation activity in firms and industries, little attention has been given to the role of social capital for knowledge sourcing and knowledge transfer in regional... (More)
This doctoral thesis takes as a starting point that geographical location remains fundamental to gain competitive advantage for some types of firms and activities even though economic activity in general has become more global. The region is seen as the key level in which the innovative capability of firms is shaped, coordinated and governed. This is in line with the regional innovation systems (RIS) approach to innovation that has been widely accepted in economic geography literature the last decade. However, while there has been a focus on the regional factors that influence innovation activity in firms and industries, little attention has been given to the role of social capital for knowledge sourcing and knowledge transfer in regional industries. Thus, this doctoral thesis attempts to link the theoretical frameworks of social capital and regional innovation systems. It examines the specific types of social capital, understood as the institutions, relationships, attitudes and values that govern interaction among actors (individuals, firms and organizations) that are most relevant in stimulating innovation activity in firms in different regional settings. In doing so, the thesis attempts to contribute to our understanding of regional innovation by focusing on the nature of collaboration, knowledge sharing, and knowledge transfer within and between firms.



This doctoral thesis is a collection of four articles that are designed in order to cover topics related to the main research question of the thesis, that is, social capital and regional innovation. The empirical part of this thesis stems from three case studies of regional industries in Norway. These case studies are reflected in the articles that follow the comprehensive summary. The cases were chosen in order address different aspects related to the overall topic of the thesis. The first case from the Agder region in Norway aims at using social capital theory in order to interpret the type and geography of knowledge flows between firms and external actors. The second case from the animation industry in Oslo aims at providing insight into the importance of social network relations in project based industries. And, last, the third case from fashion design in Oslo focuses on the localization requirements that drive creative processes in cultural industries.



The study demonstrates that social capital theory can give insight into the nature of social relations and knowledge flow between firms and important actors. Theories on types of social capital, strength of ties and types of networks are important for understanding the nature of the social relations between individual actors. In addition social capital theory can be helpful in order to get a better understanding of the institutional context in which actors operate. Further more, the empirical studies have demonstrated that investments in network relations and the development of trust based relations facilitates the innovative capability of firms, and helps to organize and use the resources in the regional and extra-networks to enable and support the innovation- and knowledge creating activities. This argues for the implementation of social capital as an element in models on regional innovation systems in which knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer between actors are important elements. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • Professor Davis, Charles, Ryerson University
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Social capital, Regional innovation system, Knowledge base, Economic geography
pages
108 pages
publisher
Lund University
defense location
Flygeln, Sölvegatan 10, Lund
defense date
2012-09-07 10:00
ISBN
978-91-7473-345-7
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
a70b02f0-4c29-4d57-8e2b-fe3165032ec9 (old id 2796217)
date added to LUP
2012-06-28 08:22:22
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:15
@phdthesis{a70b02f0-4c29-4d57-8e2b-fe3165032ec9,
  abstract     = {This doctoral thesis takes as a starting point that geographical location remains fundamental to gain competitive advantage for some types of firms and activities even though economic activity in general has become more global. The region is seen as the key level in which the innovative capability of firms is shaped, coordinated and governed. This is in line with the regional innovation systems (RIS) approach to innovation that has been widely accepted in economic geography literature the last decade. However, while there has been a focus on the regional factors that influence innovation activity in firms and industries, little attention has been given to the role of social capital for knowledge sourcing and knowledge transfer in regional industries. Thus, this doctoral thesis attempts to link the theoretical frameworks of social capital and regional innovation systems. It examines the specific types of social capital, understood as the institutions, relationships, attitudes and values that govern interaction among actors (individuals, firms and organizations) that are most relevant in stimulating innovation activity in firms in different regional settings. In doing so, the thesis attempts to contribute to our understanding of regional innovation by focusing on the nature of collaboration, knowledge sharing, and knowledge transfer within and between firms.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
This doctoral thesis is a collection of four articles that are designed in order to cover topics related to the main research question of the thesis, that is, social capital and regional innovation. The empirical part of this thesis stems from three case studies of regional industries in Norway. These case studies are reflected in the articles that follow the comprehensive summary. The cases were chosen in order address different aspects related to the overall topic of the thesis. The first case from the Agder region in Norway aims at using social capital theory in order to interpret the type and geography of knowledge flows between firms and external actors. The second case from the animation industry in Oslo aims at providing insight into the importance of social network relations in project based industries. And, last, the third case from fashion design in Oslo focuses on the localization requirements that drive creative processes in cultural industries.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
The study demonstrates that social capital theory can give insight into the nature of social relations and knowledge flow between firms and important actors. Theories on types of social capital, strength of ties and types of networks are important for understanding the nature of the social relations between individual actors. In addition social capital theory can be helpful in order to get a better understanding of the institutional context in which actors operate. Further more, the empirical studies have demonstrated that investments in network relations and the development of trust based relations facilitates the innovative capability of firms, and helps to organize and use the resources in the regional and extra-networks to enable and support the innovation- and knowledge creating activities. This argues for the implementation of social capital as an element in models on regional innovation systems in which knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer between actors are important elements.},
  author       = {Johnsen, Ingrid Helene Garmann},
  isbn         = {978-91-7473-345-7},
  keyword      = {Social capital,Regional innovation system,Knowledge base,Economic geography},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {108},
  publisher    = {Lund University},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {Social Capital and Regional Innovation Systems – Bridging approaches and broadening understanding of knowledge sharing and innovation},
  year         = {2012},
}