Journal of the Knowledge Economy

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 180–198 | Cite as

Reflections on the Role of University to Face the Challenges of Knowledge Society for the Local Economic Development

  • Primiano Di Nauta
  • Biagio Merola
  • Francesco Caputo
  • Federica Evangelista


This paper proposes an analysis of the evolution of approaches to knowledge management in order to identify useful patterns and perspectives for the improvement of efficiency, effectiveness, and affordable of managerial models for the economic development. The contribution offered by the literature is analyzed in the social network theory perspective and is reinterpreted in the light of the viable system approach (vSa) as a meta-model useful to highlight variables and processes involved in the interactions among several actors. The systematization of the contributions on the knowledge management facilitates the reading and the understanding of dominant managerial models, and somehow, outlines traits and characteristics of the knowledge society—as construct based on the relationship—that traditional approaches and instruments are often not properly adequate to understand. In this perspective, the paper aims to investigate the possible and potential contribution that university can offer to address the behaviors of local actors toward pathways of knowledge co-creation, able to positively impact on the local economic and social dynamics, in a win-win logic framework. Using a cross disciplinary approach, the paper proposes a conceptual framework able to identify possible influences that university can enforce on the local context in order to improve the social alignment requested to evolve from a transactional to a relational perspective, in which all actors play an active role in the processes of value generation and their needs are effectively satisfied. Proposed reflections are supported by the analysis of some practical observations with reference to the territory of Puglia region in Italy. They highlight the relevance of university as a key actor able to address the local resources to face the challenge of a changeable emerging context.


Viable systems approach Social network theory Constructivism Knowledge economy Role of university in the knowledge society 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Primiano Di Nauta
    • 1
  • Biagio Merola
    • 1
  • Francesco Caputo
    • 2
  • Federica Evangelista
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of FoggiaFoggiaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Management & Information TechnologyUniversity of SalernoFiscianoItaly
  3. 3.Department of Economic and LawUniversity of Cassino and Southern LazioCassinoItaly

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