Making Sense of Knowledge Productivity

Making Sense of Knowledge Productivity

Christiaan D. Stam (INHolland University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-054-9.ch007


In the knowledge economy knowledge productivity is the main source of competitive advantage and thus the biggest management challenge. Based on a review of the concept from two distinct perspectives, knowledge productivity is defined as the process of knowledge-creation that leads to incremental and radical innovation. The two main elements in this definition are ‘the process of knowledge creation’ and ‘incremental and radical innovation’. The main aim of this chapter is to contribute to a better understanding of the concept of knowledge productivity in order to support management in designing policies for knowledge productivity enhancement. After elaborating on the concept of knowledge productivity, the two main elements are combined in a conceptual framework: the knowledge productivity flywheel. This framework appeared to be an effective model for supporting initiatives that aim for enhancing knowledge productivity.
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Knowledge Productivity Is…

Although KP is a relatively new concept, the combination of the concepts of knowledge and productivity is not new. The awareness that knowledge and productivity are closely related already goes back for many decades. Some would argue that it goes back for several centuries (Warsh, 2006). In a sense, the importance of knowledge as an economic factor has always been the core of the economic sciences. The famous story about the pin factory in The Wealth of Nations (Smith, 2000, original publication 1776), already stressed the importance of knowledge accumulation (through specialization). However, as mathematics started to dominate the economic sciences, and as knowledge was hard to quantify, knowledge was long considered to be a side-effect, a spill-over, or residual. The acknowledgement of knowledge as an important wealth creating factor, has been an “underground river” that came to the surface every now and then, but only recently started to get accepted in mainstream economics and management sciences (Warsh, 2006).

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