Chapter

The Geographies of Strategic Competence: Borrowing from Social and Educational Psychology to Sketch an Activity and Knowledge‐Based Theory of the Firm

J.‐C. Spender

in The Dynamic Firm

Published in print September 1999 | ISBN: 9780198296041
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596070 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198296045.003.0018
 The Geographies of Strategic Competence: Borrowing from Social and Educational Psychology to Sketch an Activity and Knowledge‐Based Theory of the Firm

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Sketches a consistent knowledge‐based theory of the firm where geography matters so that organizational knowledge must then also have a spatial dimension. The author differentiates four types of knowledge (objectified, conscious, automatic, and collective) by employing the dichotomies of explicit/implicit, and individual/social knowledge. The argument that rents arising from knowledge differences, rather than those arising from efficiency differences, are at the heart of competitive advantage allows the association of each type of knowledge with a particular type of rent. All firms are described as containing all four types of knowledge that have been differentiated, although the principal reason for the existence of firms is said to be the rents that accrue from activity‐based learning. This neatly identifies implicit and social knowledge (i.e. collective knowledge), as the key type for firms; it follows that this type of knowledge can best be created in dense, cluster‐like environments with ample opportunity for direct interaction, and successful, new industrial districts (regional clusters) are offered as good illustrations of this argument; other types of knowledge have other geographical implications for firms.

Keywords: automatic knowledge; collective knowledge; companies; competence; conscious knowledge; explicit knowledge; firm theory; firms; geographical factors; implicit knowledge; individual knowledge; knowledge; objectified knowledge; organizational knowledge; regional clusters; rents; social knowledge; spatial dimensions; strategic competence

Chapter.  10089 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Microeconomics

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