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The Mobility of People, Ideas and Knowledge in the Entrepreneurial Society
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Project Innovations and Entrepreneurship. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

As radical innovations facilitate communication, create new industries and make others obsolete, the established ways of organising society are being questioned. Over the last few decades, a theoretical framework and a worldview labelled the entrepreneurial society, has emerged. The entrepreneurial society is based on theoretical models, empirical observations and a belief in the importance of new businesses.

The core of the entrepreneurial society is the claim that valuable ideas have to be commercialised in order to contribute to economic growth and prosperity. Unfortunately, valuable ideas remain dormant due to a number of barriers. Labour mobility, informal networks and entrepreneurship are mechanisms with the potential of overcoming these barriers.

This thesis aims to increase our understanding of how ideas diffuse between and get applied within organisations. The thesis relates its findings to the entrepreneurial society and identifies and critically assesses basic assumptions and biases underlying the framework.

The thesis presents and discusses six studies, each published as an article in a scientific journal, a chapter in an edited book, or as a conference paper at an international academic conference. Taken together, the findings in this thesis emphasise that the mobility of ideas is intertwined with the mobility of people and knowledge. More specifically, the findings indicate that employees in large R&Ddriven projects not only attain knowledge from external sources, but also that the use of external knowledge sources is positively related to new ideas connected to the projects.

In addition, this thesis reinforces the argument that the mobility of knowledge workers is particularly beneficial to the diffusion of knowledge and ideas between organisations; the results show that employees in knowledge-intensive positions perceive greater opportunities to generate, share and develop ideas in organisations, as compared to employees in less knowledge-intensive positions.

This thesis suggests that new employees tend to have an entrepreneurial potential in the form of a greater drive for change and less habituation with current practices. Nevertheless, such potential is often curbed by resistant routines. However, the thesis also finds that much entrepreneurship literature and the discourse of policy makers are biased towards overly optimistic views of entrepreneurship.

The literature on the entrepreneurial society emphasises the diffusion and application of new R&D-related knowledge and ideas. This thesis also emphasises the diffusion and application of already widespread and established knowledge, ideas and innovations.

Abstract [sv]

I takt med att radikala innovationer underlättar kommunikation, skapar nya branscher och gör andra obsoleta, ifrågasätts etablerade sätt att organisera samhället. De senaste årtiondena har ett teoretiskt ramverk och en världsåskådning, under benämningen det entreprenöriella samhället, vuxit fram. Det entreprenöriella samhället baseras på teoretiska modeller, empiriska observationer och en tro på vikten av nya företag.

Kärnan i det entreprenöriella samhället är tesen att värdefulla idéer måste kommersialiseras för att bidra till ekonomisk tillväxt och välstånd. Olyckligtvis förblir många idéer outnyttjade på grund av en mängd barriärer. Arbetskraftsrörlighet, informella nätverk och entreprenörskap är mekanismer med potential att övervinna dessa barriärer.

Syftet med denna avhandling är att öka vår förståelse av hur idéer sprids mellan, och tillämpas inom, organisationer. Avhandlingen relaterar resultaten till det entreprenöriella samhället, samt identifierar och granskar ramverkets underliggande antaganden och blinda fläckar.

Avhandlingen presenterar och diskuterar sex studier, var och en publicerad som en artikel i en vetenskaplig tidskrift, som ett kapitel i en akademisk antologi eller som ett bidrag till en internationell vetenskaplig konferens. Sammantaget understryker resultaten i avhandlingen att idéers rörlighet är sammanvävd med människors och kunskaps rörlighet. Resultaten tyder på att anställda i stora FoU-drivna projekt inte bara inhämtar kunskap från externa källor utan också att dessa källor är relaterade till nya idéer och lösningar på problem i projekten.

Vidare förstärker resultaten tidigare forskning som hävdar att organisationsbyten bland människor med kunskapsintensiva arbeten särskilt bidrar till att idéer och kunskap sprids mellan organisationer; resultaten visar att anställda med kunskapsintensiva arbeten upplever större möjligheter att generera, föreslå och utveckla idéer jämfört med anställda i mindre kunskapsintensiva positioner.

Avhandlingens resultat indikerar också att nyanställda har en större entreprenöriell potential än mer etablerade anställda. Detta för att nyanställda har en större förändringsbenägenhet och att de ännu inte är inskolade i etablerade arbetssätt. Denna potential hålls emellertid ofta tillbaka av motståndskraftiga organisatoriska rutiner. Dessutom hävdar avhandlingen att mycket av entreprenörskapslitteraturen och den politiska diskursen uppvisar en överoptimistisk syn på entreprenörskap.

Litteraturen bakom det entreprenöriella samhället betonar spridningen och tillämpningen av forskningsnära kunskap. Denna avhandling betonar även vidare spridning av redan spridd och etablerad kunskap, samt redan spridda och etablerade idéer och innovationer.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Institutionen för ekonomisk och industriell utveckling, Linköpings universitet , 2010. , 62 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1357
Keyword [en]
Absorptive capacity, entrepreneurial society, entrepreneurship, ideas, innovation, knowledge, labour mobility, mutagen, routine
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-63570ISBN: 978-91-7393-266-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-63570DiVA: diva2:380490
Public defence
2010-12-20, Planck, Fysikhuset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

The authors Licentiate thesis "Organisational adoption of innovations : management practices and IT" is a part of this dissertation.

Available from: 2010-12-21 Created: 2010-12-21 Last updated: 2016-05-04Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Informal Contacts in R&D-driven Organisations
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Informal Contacts in R&D-driven Organisations
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This article is positioned in the debate regarding the relative importance of informal contacts as a mechanism for knowledge diffusion between organisations. Empirically, the article assesses the importance of different knowledge sources utilised by 219 participants in two high-tech, R&D-driven, product development projects in large corporations, located in local labour markets highly specialised in their respective industry clusters. The results show that the most important knowledge sources for the respondents are related to the workplace. Informal contacts outside the organisation, although prevalent, are rather unimportant as knowledge sources in comparison to other knowledge sources. However, external contacts are related to creative contributions in the projects regardless of whether the contributions are self-assessed or peer-assessed. There is some support for informal contacts in particular being related to creative contributions in the projects. Implications for the understanding of knowledge diffusion are discussed and directions for future research suggested.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-63566 (URN)
Available from: 2010-12-21 Created: 2010-12-21 Last updated: 2016-05-04Bibliographically approved
2. New Job – New Ideas: The Relationship between Tenure and Perceived CreativeClimate
Open this publication in new window or tab >>New Job – New Ideas: The Relationship between Tenure and Perceived CreativeClimate
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Despite an increasing interest in labour mobility as a mechanism for diffusing ideas between organisations, regions, and countries, few studies have considered new employees’ opportunities to share ideas in their new organisations. This paper focuses on how perceptions of creative climate (CC) is related to tenure in organisations by analysing perceived CC in a random sample of unionised Swedish white-collar workers (n=1303). It finds tenure to be negatively related to perceived CC for the first few years of employment. The level of knowledge required for a position does not moderate this relationship, but more knowledge-intensive work in itself tends to be associated with higher levels of perceived CC. Understanding the factors that influence the CC is important since CC could influence not only labour mobility’s efficiency as a mechanism for diffusing ideas between organisations, but also potentially employees’ decision to leave their current organisation.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-63567 (URN)
Available from: 2010-12-21 Created: 2010-12-21 Last updated: 2010-12-21Bibliographically approved
3. Entrepreneurship: Elixir of Life or Mutagen
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Entrepreneurship: Elixir of Life or Mutagen
2009 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The establishment of entrepreneurship as a research discipline has brought research traditions and assumptions that carry the risk of screening out important aspects of the phenomena involved. This paper contrasts the describing and perceiving of entrepreneurship using an elixir metaphor with a metaphor of entrepreneurship as a mutagen. The elixir metaphor can present it as a panacea, a revitaliser, a sweet medium for bitter medicine, or a substance transmuting base metals into gold. The mutagen metaphor implies that entrepreneurship induces changes in the basic scripts of organisations and that entrepreneurial action can reasonably be modelled ex ante as stochastic.

National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-20717 (URN)
Conference
20th Biannual NFF Conference “Business as Usual”, August 19-21, Turku/Åbo, Finland
Available from: 2009-09-18 Created: 2009-09-18 Last updated: 2010-12-21Bibliographically approved
4. Adoption of Discretionary Public Information Systems with Digital Use Patterns: Barriers and Driving Forces
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Adoption of Discretionary Public Information Systems with Digital Use Patterns: Barriers and Driving Forces
2008 (English)In: International Journal of Public Information Systems, ISSN 1653-4360, Vol. 4, no 2, 87-130 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article presents a new model, AKAM, for analysing adoption of discretionary, public information systems (PIS) with digital use patterns (such as use or non-use, as opposed to frequency of use, or degree of engaged or compliant use). The model is based on Rogers’ innovation diffusion theory (IDT) and Nilsson’s user centred access model (UCAM). The model is an alternative to the general technology acceptance model (TAM). The AKAM model (Awareness, Knowledge, Access and Motivation) identifies six prerequisites for use and four management approaches and describes how these are related. To illustrate its applicability, the AKAM model is used to analyse the adoption of a specific module, the YAF-module, in the Swedish Sports Confederation’s (SSC) system Swedish Sports Online. We present empirical results that indicate the frequency and importance of the barriers and driving forces as experienced by the YAF module users and the potential YAF module users.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University, 2008
Keyword
Innovation diffusion theory, IDT, user centred access model, UCAM, technology acceptance model, TAM, public information systems, PIS, non profit organisation, NPO, sport association, discretionary information system, barrier
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-13177 (URN)
Available from: 2008-06-13 Created: 2008-06-13 Last updated: 2014-05-09Bibliographically approved

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