Journal of the Knowledge Economy

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 24–44

Competitiveness, the Knowledge-Based Economy and Higher Education

Article

DOI: 10.1007/s13132-012-0121-8

Cite this article as:
Sum, N. & Jessop, B. J Knowl Econ (2013) 4: 24. doi:10.1007/s13132-012-0121-8

Abstract

This article explores the appeal of the economic narratives of globalisation, competitiveness, and the knowledge-based economy and the impact of the economic and extra-economic tendencies that they both construe and help to construct with special reference to higher education. The argument develops in five steps: First, it analyses the socially constructed nature of competitiveness, exemplifying this from the influential account of Michael Porter and his Harvard Business School associates; second, it shows how the ‘knowledge-based economy’ (or KBE) concept developed as a scientific paradigm and policy paradigm in the context of the crisis of Fordism and how it has influenced public discourse on educational reform; third, it reviews how Porterian propositions on competitiveness have been translated into a ‘knowledge brand’ that is promoted by academic–guru–consultants and relayed through research centres, policy networks, and advisory services; fourth, it explores how the KBE is being re-contextualised in part in terms of ‘knowledge and higher education clusters’, ‘knowledge hubs’, etc., and their role in competitiveness; and fifth, it notes some implications of these economic imaginaries, governmental technologies, and emergent modes of growth for higher education.

Keywords

CompetitivenessEconomic imaginaryKnowledge-based economyKnowledge brandMichael PorterHigher education

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, County SouthLancaster UniversityLancasterUK
  2. 2.Department Sociology, Bowland NorthLancaster UniversityLancasterUK