Goio Etxebarria and Mikel Gómez Uranga INTRODUCTION In this chapter, knowledge production and diffusion are understood to be collective tasks and are set up in a framework of inter-agent relationships with certain underlying values. As in any interchange relationship, trust between the parties is required to establish a good relationship. Sharing information and spreading knowledge call for the collaboration of the different agents involved. Therefore, the ‘collaboration’ value is extremely important in creating and spreading knowledge. The values mentioned above are useful for ﬁrms when managing knowledge. The social capital in the ﬁrms’ local environment is built on the foundation of values that can be directly used to acquire new business knowledge. The intellectual aptitudes that make up the base of knowledge creation also beneﬁt from the social capital that surrounds them. The values found in a certain local environment help ﬁrms located there to obtain a competitive edge. A local economy based on learning shows an ethical dimension (values); it is difﬁcult to conceive organizations based on learning without the presence of certain values (honesty, trust). The foundation of a knowledge economy should include the formation of internalized codes of conduct (Lundvall, 2000). The case study of the cooperative system based in Mondragon (a small town located in the Basque Country) could illustrate the inﬂuence exercised by a culture of local values (trust, collaboration, solidarity, participation) to strengthen learning and knowledge networks, mainly between ﬁrms and cooperative organizations. The Mondragon Cooperative Corporation’s (MCC) expansion and...
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