Title

Knowledge Clusters and Knowledge Hubs: Designing Epistemic Landscapes for Development

Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2010

Abstract

Purpose – With globalization and knowledge-based production, firms may cooperate on a global scale, outsource parts of their administrative or productive units and negate location altogether. The extremely low transaction costs of data, information and knowledge seem to invalidate the theory of agglomeration and the spatial clustering of firms, going back to the classical work by Alfred Weber and Alfred Marshall, who emphasized the microeconomic benefits of industrial collocation. This paper aims to argue against this view and show why the growth of knowledge societies will rather increase than decrease the relevance of location by creating knowledge clusters and knowledge hubs, due to sharing of tacit knowledge and research and development outputs. Designing epistemic landscapes of knowledge clusters and hubs is, therefore, proposed as a viable development policy. Design/methodology/approach – Secondary data from cluster research as well as the authors' own survey data, mainly on Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore, are used to show and measure clustering of knowledge-producing organizations. Findings – The paper shows that sharing of tacit knowledge is a crucial variable to explain why clustering of knowledge-intensive industries takes place despite the development of information technology. The importance of knowledge management for development is highlighted. Practical implications – Designing epistemic landscapes of knowledge clusters and hubs is, therefore, proposed as a viable development policy. Originality/value – The paper argues against the mainstream of industrial clustering theory and proposes a KM-based research strategy. The discussion of the difference between knowledge clusters and knowledge hubs enables the use of a new and consistent evaluation of a K4D (knowledge for development) strategy.

Keywords

Cluster analysis, Communication technologies, Economic development, Knowledge sharing, South East Asia

Discipline

Human Resources Management

Research Areas

Corporate Communication

Publication

Journal of Knowledge Management.

Volume

14

Issue

5

First Page

678

Last Page

689

ISSN

1367-3270

Identifier

10.1108/13673271011074836