A Triple Helix of University–Industry–Government
Edited by Riccardo Viale and Henry Etzkowitz
Chapter 12: Knowledge Networks: Integration Mechanisms and Performance Assessment
Matilde Luna and José Luis Velasco Triple-helix relations involve communication among systems that have distinctive codes and languages. Therefore they should be conceptualized as complex systems, or as systems of network-structured social relations. Because of their complexity, triple-helix relations are hard to analyse and evaluate. Strictly speaking, they are not economic, political or scientific organizations, and therefore conventional criteria and standards for assessing performance cannot be taken for granted. This chapter addresses a set of theoretical and methodological issues related to the functioning and performance of organizations involved in triple-helix relations. More specifically, we look at four integration mechanisms and their impact on several criteria of performance. We consider two types of network performance: functional and organizational, respectively related to the practical results of collaboration and the conditions for the production of such results. We shall focus on academy–industry relations or knowledge networks conceived as complex problem-solving structures devoted to the generation and diffusion of knowledge through the establishment of collaborative links between academy and industry. We begin by drawing some theoretical insights from the literature on network complexity. We then identify four mechanisms for integrating actors with different and sometimes diverging codes, interests, needs, preferences, resources and abilities: mutual trust, translation, negotiation and deliberation. Next, we focus on trust and translation, respectively related to problems of internal social cohesion and communication. Next we turn to negotiation and deliberation, both related to decision-making. Finally, we try to establish to what extent, in what sense, and under what conditions knowledge...
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