Edited by Hartmut Hirsch-Kreinsen and Isabel Schwinge
Chapter 2: Exploring knowledge-intensive entrepreneurship in high-tech and low-tech manufacturing sectors: differences and similarities
In recent years, learning and knowledge in industry have gained increasing attention among scholars and policy-makers in view of the fact that knowledge-intensive industries are now considered to be at the core of growth in emerging knowledge-driven economies (Smith, 2002; Robertson and Smith, 2008). The concept of 'knowledge economy' emerges when knowledge is recognized to be useful in producing economic benefits (Garavaglia and Grieco, 2005). In fact, as Mokyr suggests, 'all economies in human history are knowledge economies' (2002). However, the difference in the use of the term today is related to the change in the relative weight of knowledge compared to other factors (such as physical assets, natural resources and unskilled labor); it has assumed greater importance both in quantitative and qualitative terms (Caloghirou et al., 2006). 'Knowledge is becoming the main raw material in many manufacturing industries' (Rodrigues, 2002: 5), while the knowledge-intensity of products and services is increasing in almost all industries. Unique knowledge, be it internal or external, is the most valuable asset of a firm for achieving competitive advantage (Liebeskind, 1996; Ihrig et al., 2006), as it provides a platform for decisions on what resources and capabilities to deploy, develop or discard as the environment changes (Ndofor and Levitas, 2004).
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