Foundations of the Knowledge Economy
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Foundations of the Knowledge Economy

Innovation, Learning and Clusters

Edited by Knut Ingar Westeren

This book presents new evidence concerning the influential role of context and institutions on the relations between knowledge, innovation, clusters and learning. From a truly international perspective, the expert contributors capture the most interesting and relevant aspects of knowledge economy.
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Chapter 9: How to Improve the Region’s Ability to Learn: A Micro-level Model on Regional Actor's Knowledge and (Informal) Learning Processes

Manfred Walser and Roland Scherer


9. How to improve the region’s ability to learn: a micro-level model on regional actor’s knowledge and (informal) learning processes Manfred Walser and Roland Scherer Introduction In the last decades we can state a paradigmatic shift in theories on regional development. Different approaches are drawn upon to explain the success of a region extending beyond the quality of classic location factors. One basic approach is of particular relevance in this respect, which centers on the knowledge and competencies of the regional actors and institutions: the ‘learning region’ approach. This chapter is about how we can improve a region’s ability to learn. The main hypothesis is that if we introduce an in-depth understanding of learning processes on the micro-level of single actor’s learning we can gain new insights into regional development approaches and also we can develop tools and strategies to foster learning regions. This chapter starts with a short overview of actual theories of regional development which show a diversity of approaches existing side by side. It emphasizes the role of learning and knowledge as one pattern to analyse regional development processes. With the second section we start from a micro- ehavioral model on the process of learning and distinguish between b different kinds of learning and knowledge with respect to their contribution to regional development processes. The third section describes different types of learning and knowledge. It is followed by a case study of a regional development process in the region Walgau (Austria), which uses different measures to improve...

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