The value of knowledge networks : conceptual framework in application to sustainable production
Author(s)Haraldsson, Vignir Mar, 1969-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science.
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The thesis is motivated by two major trends: the rise of a global information and knowledge economy, and environmental degradation and the search for sustainable solutions. The increasing importance of knowledge has by some been equated with a new industrial revolution, one based on computer technology, digital infrastructure, and highly educated and technically skilled workers. But how do we assess the value of knowledge in this 'new' economy? The question over value is explored through the diffusion and localization of new knowledge via a knowledge network, based on information technology. The central argument is that in the knowledge economy, the value of knowledge lies in the ability to share it over a knowledge network, which allows for diffusion and localization of new knowledge. This central thesis and the value of knowledge networks is further explored by looking at the case of environmentally friendly or sustainable production. The knowledge network targets barriers to environmentally friendly practices by encouraging and enabling diffusion of knowledge related to sustainable products and processes. The knowledge scope for environmental solutions is analyzed, with the objective to develop common categories, and to understand better the increasing complexities and knowledge needs as enterprises engage in sustainable production. In discussing the knowledge economy and knowledge networks, the thesis focuses mostly on the business enterprise. But the development of the knowledge age has much larger implications, such as 'knowledge for whom?' and 'value for whom?'. The information technologies and networks offer new ways for people and groups to interact and influence social issues and can enable the diffusion of wide variety of views and perspectives. Thinking about the information and knowledge age in the larger economic and social context requires us to consider who builds, controls, influences and benefits from the technology and its use. Before we can reasonably approach this analysis, a basic conceptual framework or understanding of knowledge sharing, knowledge networks, and value of knowledge is called for. This thesis is a building block for such a framework, a contribution to future research into the economic and social implications of the knowledge economy.
Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Political Science, 2000.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 54-56).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Political Science
Massachusetts Institute of Technology