Explorations in Information Space:Knowledge, Agents, and Organization: Knowledge, Agents, and Organization

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OUP Oxford, Dec 27, 2007 - Business & Economics - 242 pages
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With the rise of the knowledge economy, the knowledge content of goods and services is going up just as their material content is declining. Economic value is increasingly seen to reside in the former - that is, in intangible assets - rather than in the latter. Yet we keep wanting to turn knowledge back into something tangible, something with definite boundaries which can be measured, manipulated, appropriated, and traded. In short, we want to reify knowledge.Scholars have been debating the nature of knowledge since the time of Plato. Many new insights have been gained from these debates, but little theoretical consensus has been achieved. Through six thematically linked chapters, the book articulates the theoretical approach to the production and distribution of knowledge that underpins Max Boisot's conceptual framework, the Information Space or I-Space. In this way the book looks to provide theoretical and practical underpinnings to Boisot's bookKnowledge Assets (OUP, 1998).Following an introductory chapter, how knowledge relates to data and information is first examined in chapter 1, and how different economic actors - entrepreneurs, managers, etc - use knowledge as a basis for action is explored in chapter 2. Chapter 3 looks at how the heterogeneity of economic actors arises naturally from their respective data processing strategies in spite of any similarities in the data that they might share. Chapter 4 argues, contra much transaction-based economics,that an organizational order must have preceded a market order, something that should be reflected in any knowledge-based theory of the firm. Chapter 5 discusses the cultural and institutional significance of different kinds of knowledge flows. Finally, chapter 6 presents an agent-based simulation model,SimISpace, that illustrates how the I-Space might be applied to concrete problems such those of intellectual property rights. A concluding chapter proposes a research agenda based on the theorizing developed in the book.The approach the book sets out is used by a whole range of organizations to issues of knowledge management, policy, economics, and organizational and cultural change.

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About the author (2007)

Max H. Boisot is Professor of Strategic Management at the Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham. He is also Visiting Fellow at the Snider Center for Entrepreneurial Research, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and Associate Fellow at Templeton College, Oxford University. Between 1984 and 1989 he was dean and director of the China-Europe Management Program in Beijing. This has since evolved into the China-Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai. Max Boisot has published in Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Science, Research Policy, and The Journal of Evolutionary Economics. His most recent book, Knowledge Assets: Securing Competitive Advantage in the Information Economy (Oxford University Press, 1998) was awarded the Ansoff Prize for the best book on strategy in 2000. Ian C. MacMillan is the Co-Director of the Wharton Entrepreneurial Center, Director of the Snider Entrepreneurial Research Center. and Dhirubhai AmbaniProfessor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship there. MacMillan joined the Center in 1986, after having served as Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at NYU. He has taught at NYU, Columbia University, Northwestern University, and University of South Africa. MacMillan has extensive consulting experience with international companies. He has published numerous articles and books on organizational politics, new ventures, and strategy formulation and execution. He has published in theHarvard Business Review, The Sloan Management Review, The Journal of Business Venturing, among others. His latest books, The Entrepreneurial Mindset, and MarketBusters were written with Rita Gunther McGrath. Kyeong Seok Han is Professor of Management Information Systems at School of Business Administration, Soongsil University, Korea. He was also Senior Research Fellow at the Snider Center for Entrepreneurial Research, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He was appointed professor at the University of Houston in 1990 after being awarded a Ph.D. degree from Purdue University. Kyeong Seok Han has published in Applied Economics (SSCI Journal), International Journal of Electronic Commerce (SSCI Journal), Accounting, and Management and Information Technologies, as well as in other journals and books. His most recent paper was awarded a prize for the best research paper on August, 2006.

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