Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Papers in Innovation Studies,
Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy

No 2015/10: Combining knowledge bases in transnational innovation - microfoundations and the geography of organization

Simone Strambach ()
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Simone Strambach: Department of Geography, Philipps-University of Marburg

Abstract: The aim of the paper is to contribute both conceptually and empirically to a deeper understanding of the territorial shaping of knowledge combination and its development dynamics underpinning innovation. The importance of combining and integrating knowledge bases from different sources, geographical scales and heterogeneous actors is increasingly recognized in innovation studies. Yet, the question of what limits or enables knowledge combinations in innovation processes and what generates relatedness among unrelated knowledge bases in time and space is not fully answered. Conceptually the paper suggests a more specific focus on microfoundations and temporality by taking into account the economics of organization in more detail. This appears a particularly promising approach, as the causal relations and mechanisms across and between aggregated levels such as firms, sectors, regions, or nations are not well understood. Empirically the paper explores the micro-dynamics of knowledge combination and its territorial shaping from a transnational perspective. German-Chinese innovation projects in sustainable construction are investigated by using the methodology of innovation biography. This method allows following the time-space path of innovation. It enables capturing knowledge interactions and their unfolding in multi-scalar and cross-sectoral ways. The results underline a very dynamic geography of organization and barriers for knowledge integration at the micro-level rooted in organizational and institutional path dependencies. The investigation in the interplay between more permanent and temporary organizational forms and its geography holds a large potential for further research to provide new insights into the spatiality of combining knowledge bases in innovation processes.

Keywords: knowledge dynamics; transnational innovation; microfoundations; economics of organization; innovation biography

JEL-codes: D83; L14; L20; L84; O31

28 pages, February 26, 2015

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