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Knowledge Governance - Meaning, Nature, Origins, and Implications

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Prepared for Anna Grandori, ed. Handbook of Economic Organization.Edward Elgar, 2012 ; Assumptions about the knowledge held by economic agents have been an integral part ofthe theory of economic organization since its inception. However, recent work—herecalled “knowledge governance”—has more explicitly highlighted knowledge as both anindependent and dependent variable. Thus, a spate of work in management research andnew institutional economics has highlighted dimensions such as complementarity,complexity, tacitness, and so on of knowledge assets and shown how knowledge assets,thus dimensionalized, has explanatory value with respect to economic organization.However, knowledge may also be seen as being caused by governance mechanisms andstructures; specifically, incentives, allocations of decision rights, organizational structureand so on influence the search for knowledge, and the creation, sharing and integration ofknowledge. More philosophically, the concern with the role of knowledge in the contextof economic organization prompts a reevaluation of a number of the fundamentalassumptions that are often used to guide theory-building in the economics of organization(e.g., Bayesian and game theoretical foundations).

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Nicholai J. Foss

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