Overcoming Reticence to Aid Knowledge Creation Between Universities and Business: A Case Reviewed

Overcoming Reticence to Aid Knowledge Creation Between Universities and Business: A Case Reviewed

Elly Philpott (University of Bedfordshire, UK) and John Beaumont-Kerridge (University of Bedfordshire, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-790-4.ch016
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This chapter argues the case for a proactive process to facilitate knowledge creation between universities and small to medium size enterprises (SMEs). Cultural issues dictating reticence of engagement are discussed as well as the inhibitors that prevent the free interchange of knowledge. The chapter shows how reticence can be overcome by serving the needs of both parties and how knowledge created through successful interaction can be measured. The knowledge creation process itself is analysed in the context of Nonaka’s SECI model. The chapter concludes with recommendations for the reader on areas for public investment to enhance the knowledge transfer process and provides lessons learned for the measurement of knowledge transfer at these interfaces. The outcomes are of value to those interested in the continuing applicability of Nonaka’s work outside of the heavy industrial context as well as to those interested in the traditional problems associated with knowledge transfer between universities and SMEs.
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In 2003 the United Kingdom (UK) Government's Lambert report purported:

“It is clear that much more needs to be done to persuade business of the economic benefits to be gained from innovation, and of working in collaboration with university departments to achieve this goal. This applies especially to [Small to medium sized Enterprises] (SMEs), which have few resources to risk on reaching out to find new ways of developing products and services.” (Lambert 2003, 142)

The UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) responded to Lambert describing how companies had reported that support for innovation was patchy and inconsistent; confusing; lacking in specialist advice (innovation, design and marketing); bureaucratic and long-winded; and remote. This represented a challenge to the author. Firstly to overcome the perceived level of existing service; secondly to identify companies that could benefit from university help, and thirdly the engagement process – access - itself.

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