Dynamics of New Industrial Knowledge Flows
Edited by Philip Cooke, Carla De Laurentis, Stewart MacNeill and Chris Collinge
Chapter 10: Analysis and Summaries from the Seven Sector Chapters
Philip Cooke and Carla De Laurentis INTRODUCTION 10.1 Theses sectoral studies reveal quite clearly the matrix nature of contemporary knowledge flows in industry. This phenomenon is still not widely understood, but it can be surmised to have evolved in a more pronounced way for the three following reasons. First, knowledge exploration, examination and exploitation for innovation grew as an imperative for European and other Western firms with the onset of Asian competition from the 1960s and 1970s onwards. Second, relatively few large nonAsian corporations, operating the ‘silo model’ of corporate organization that became especially de rigeur after the Second World War, really had the capabilities of flexibility, agility and interactivity necessary to meet the challenge. Finally, a relatively under-researched social phenomenon occurred simultaneously in most Western countries. University education grew from something mainly pursued by a wealthy elite to becoming more democratically available and affordable for families of modest income. This released a large supply of highly trained graduate and postgraduate labour on to the labour market. Although some firms, like Siemens and ICI for example, had always reserved quotas of the best young graduate engineers and chemists for their own recruitment, others did not always follow suit. Indeed in some countries it was more likely that senior corporate positions would be occupied by staff trained in military rather than university settings. As by the 1960s and subsequently university labour markets continued to expand with new, often technical, universities joining those of earlier provenance, so these were able to recruit...
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