Handbook of Knowledge and Economics
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Handbook of Knowledge and Economics

Edited by Richard Arena, Agnès Festré and Nathalie Lazaric

By illuminating the philosophical roots of the various notions of knowledge employed by economists, this Handbook helps to disentangle conceptual and typological issues surrounding the debate on knowledge amongst economists. Wide-ranging in scope, it explores fundamental aspects of the relationship between knowledge and economics – such as the nature of knowledge, knowledge acquisition and knowledge diffusion.
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Chapter 21: Evolution of Individual and Organizational Knowledge: Exploring Some Motivational Triggers Enabling Change

Nathalie Lazaric


Nathalie Lazaric 21.1 INTRODUCTION The relation between institution and individual behaviour has been widely debated in the institutionalist theory, according to which collective learning rests on individual habits, routines and other types of more or less formalized practices (Commons, 1934; Veblen, 1914). New interest in the notion of routine has recently arisen, particularly following Nelson and Winter’s work (1982), which highlighted the relative permanency of firms’ behaviours but also their capacity to innovate. Using a Schumpeterian framework, these authors free themselves from the traditional institutionalist framework and consider that processes of routine selection respond essentially to external regularities. Yet a careful re-examination of the concepts of habits and routines shows the similarity of the notions, in terms of their properties and of their ability to integrate changes (Hodgson, 1993; Lazaric, 2000; Lorenz, 2000). Habits and their potential routinization should be understood through the evolution of knowledge. In fact, the procedural and declarative knowledge held by individuals is not inert but memorized in a certain social and political context, which leads individuals to reconfigure it actively in order to either question or modify it in the course of action according to their understanding of a situation. This issue, induced by the idea that free will is essential, remains critical for Bargh (1997; Lazaric, 2011). In order to understand what drives change, the heart of cognitive mechanisms has to be explored for understanding the development and evolution of declarative and procedural knowledge. Some cognitive processes in human beings remain a mystery but...

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