Social Networks and Graph Theory in the Search for Distant Knowledge: Studying the Field of Industrial Engineering

Social Networks and Graph Theory in the Search for Distant Knowledge: Studying the Field of Industrial Engineering

Alejandro Vega-Muñoz, Juan Manuel Arjona-Fuentes
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9380-5.ch017
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This chapter presents how the analysis of social networks supported in graph theory contributes to the search for “distant knowledge” in the field of industrial engineering, discipline of engineering that in its current form began in the early 20th century when the first engineers began to apply scientific theory to manufacturing. In particular, the case of Chilean documented scientific production in this area of engineering is analyzed as a category of the web of science distinguishing its degree of connection with the great knowledge, generating organizations worldwide, determining its high dissociation with the great contemporary theoretical referents, and recommending the way to reduce these problems in the future.
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This chapter presents how the analysis of social networks and graph theory contributes to the search for 'distant knowledge' in the field of industrial engineering, the discipline of engineering in its current form, began in the early 20th century when the first engineers began to apply scientific theory to manufacture (Daneshvar-Rouyendegh & Feryal-Can, 2012).

Industrial engineering creates engineering processes and systems that improve quality and productivity, besides is concerned with the development, improvement, and implementation of integrated systems of people, money, knowledge, information, equipment, energy, materials, analysis and synthesis, as well as the mathematical, physical and social sciences together with the principles and methods of engineering it design to specify, predict, and evaluate the results to be obtained from such systems or processes (Pinar, Günther & Fazleena, 2016). Frederick Taylor is been well known as the pioneer expert in management, engineer and the leader of the engineering movement by developing methodologies to improve efficiency in manufacturing without using the term, in those times, 'industrial engineering' as a concept (Maynard & Zandin, 2001).

Economic theory realizes that the efforts of industrialization and the increase of human capital with advanced knowledge, generate better conditions adding value to production and consequently greater progress to society (Solow, 1957). In this aspect, the industrialization technique generated in the field of Industrial Engineering should be a fundamental pillar, which justifies the importance of its study and academic progress. (Maynard & Zandin, 2001).

Particularly in the case of Chile, for a university system of sixty institutions of higher education, despite importance of this engineering field, there are only two doctoral programs in industrial engineering accredited by the National Accreditation Commission (2019) and knowledge that the country produces in the category of 'Engineering, Industrial' of WoS (2019) barely reaches 0.251% of the world knowledge production of the last forty years (1978-2017). And therefore, it needs to be incorporated into 'knowledge cluster' of this discipline, to at least access the knowledge spills studied by Gambardella and Giarratana (2010) and the collective generation of architectural knowledge, through network interaction routines (Tallman, Jenkins, Henry and Pinch, 2004: 265-266, Nilsson, 2019).

On the other hand, Giuliani (2005) warns that similar meso-characteristics, such as geographic and relational proximity, do not necessarily originate shared knowledge flows. Vega, Benítez & Yévenes (2005) also conclude that in order to take advantage of the multiple synergies of a cluster, the actors must consider and comply with certain norms and conditions they favor systemic action and strongly accentuate information flows. To which Huggins (2008) adds that many actors do not acquire their knowledge in their closest environment, because they promote their growth in innovation, and therefore require obtaining international border knowledge. In addition, actors with greater capacity for absorbing knowledge manage to remain more connected to global knowledge networks and not only depend on the local knowledge network.

Thus, as a result, it is possible to identify Chile's position in the 'cluster of knowledge' of Industrial Engineering and define the best approach strategy to contemporary actors of global reference, to take advantage of this.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Impact Factor: General name where with the set of metrics on documented scientific activity is known, under the logic that this published knowledge should allow generating social and economic effects, as well as being the substrate for the generation of new knowledge.

Bradford Core: It comprises one or a small number of scientific journals in a specific area of knowledge, which concentrate a high number of articles (usually one third of these) and therefore concentrates the specialized discussion on that subject.

Scientometrics: Instrument of sub-discipline of Sociology of Science, which deals with quantitatively evaluate the scientific activity documented in the scientific optical disciplinary sectoral economy or applied, sub-discipline devoted to the study of economics research and development sector (R&D).

Centrality: It refers to the measurement on a vertex of a mentioned graph, which determines its relative importance within it. The centrality of a degree (the most basic and current), corresponds to the number of links that a node has with the others.

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