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

Abstract

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.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    static.springer.com/sgw/documents/1501468/application/pdf/call_for_papers_JKE-Euromed.pdf

  2. 2.

    In the definition of this third phase, the authors base their considerations on the model of Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995), whose value as pillar in the studies on knowledge management is undisputed. Nevertheless, the model describes only in structural terms the steps that contribute to the exchange and generation of new knowledge, leaving to the psychology and sociology studies the task of identifying the variables that influence these phases.

  3. 3.

    One of more relevant representation of this approach is offered by the studies of Webster in which knowledge is identified as an objective process related to the structure of elaboration and to the network configuration and in which “the definition of the ‘information society’ […] perceives information in non-meaningful ways” (Webster 1995, p. 27).

  4. 4.

    The principle of layering affirms that the categorical structure of the real world is layered or rather that every new element that we observe, that we learn, and that we perceive acquires a meaning in relation to what we have been previously observed, learned, and perceived (Hartmann 1964).

  5. 5.

    static.springer.com/sgw/documents/1501468/application/pdf/call_for_papers_JKE-Euromed.pdf

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Di Nauta, P., Merola, B., Caputo, F. et al. Reflections on the Role of University to Face the Challenges of Knowledge Society for the Local Economic Development. J Knowl Econ 9, 180–198 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13132-015-0333-9

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Keywords

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