Sociology Index

Knowledge Economy

What is the Knowledge Economy? Technology is the foundation of knowledge economy, and is now one of the key factors of production. Knowledge economy uses knowledge capital or the body of knowledge possessed by an organization. In knowledge economy, economic growth is driven by the accumulation of knowledge. According to knowledge economy proponents, companies and countries alike would succeed by cultivating workers’ knowledge, as opposed to traditional forms of capital such as plant and machinery. Today's most technologically advanced economies are truly knowledge economies. In the present world knowledge economy contributes the most to long-term growth.

What is the knowledge economy? The phrase originated in the 1960s and early 1970s, when management theorists and sociologists sought to contrast ‘manual workers’ who engage in physical labour to produce conventional goods and services with ‘knowledge workers’ who engage in intellectual labour to produce ideas and information (Drucker 1967, Bell 1974).

The knowledge economy was the endpoint of this upheaval, a state of affairs in which knowledge work would become the dominant productive force in society. We need to understand the knowledge economy and the nature of the accumulation of knowledge.

The term ‘knowledge economy’ indicates that knowledge workers, who produce ideas and new technologies, are in the ascendant. This means that they constitute the dominant force in the economy – if not necessarily numerically or even in terms of total gross value creation, then at least in terms of productivity growth. In the knowledge economy, knowledge-intensive industries such as advanced manufacturing, biochemical engineering, and information technology become essential to prosperity (Stevens 1996, Powell and Snellman 2004).

Growth in cognitively demanding, well-paid work was in principle unbounded, and could compensate for the loss of skilled blue-collar jobs that had taken place during the preceding era of market liberalisation and globalisation (Reich 1991, Giddens 1998, 2000).

The public policy prescriptions associated with the knowledge economy no longer appear capable of delivering the outcomes that their proponents once envisaged. Yet the agenda of knowledge-based growth remains with us. The European Commission’s ‘Europe 2020’ strategy ‘for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’ emphasised investment in R&D, coupled with better education and wider access to high-speed internet. (European Commission 2010).

Mark Zuckerberg stated in his post: "The world economy is going through a massive transition right now. The knowledge economy is the future. By bringing everyone online, we'll not only improve billions of lives, but we'll also improve our own as we benefit from the ideas and productivity they contribute to the world. Giving everyone the opportunity to connect is the foundation for enabling the knowledge economy."

Knowledge economy can be understood as a response to the social and economic dislocations arising from the era of market liberalisation, which saw many developed democracies grappling with high levels of long-term and youth unemployment (Hutton 1996, Hall 2015).

The idea of the knowledge economy found new resonance in the 1990s, with the rise of home and office computing, and the advent of the World Wide Web. The expansion in computer ownership, and the exponential growth of IT-sector businesses such as Dell, Yahoo! and Microsoft, seemed to herald a paradigm shift in the wider economy. New ‘weightless’ business models – whereby a company's assets were conceived primarily in terms of personnel and institutional knowledge, rather than plant and machinery – emerged in sectors ranging from marketing through to finance, demonstrating the increasing significance of knowledge workers to the economy (Quah 1997, Coyle 1999).

Books On Knowledge Economy:

Perils of Prosperity: Realities, Risks and Rewards of the Global Knowledge Economy by John J. Sarno. Competition for high-paying, knowledge-intensive jobs has become fierce. Knowledge-intensive work is the key to long term success. The most profound social and economic transformation over the last quarter century has been how knowledge and intellectual assets have supplanted physical labor in rearranging work and organizations.

Handbook on the Knowledge Economy (Elgar Original Reference) by David Rooney, Greg Hearn, and Abraham Ninan. Highlights important new areas of concern to knowledge economies and provides new insights into the basic mechanisms that constitute a knowledge economy and society.

The Knowledge Economy by Dale Neef (Paperback - Nov 1997). According to American economists Kenneth Arrow and Robert Solow, growth and productivity could not be explained only by capital and labour. knowledge economy and high-technology industries contribute the most to long-term growth.

Knowledge Economy by Ashoka Chandra, Ashoka Chandra, and M K Khanijo. Knowledge Economy: The Indian Challenge addresses the challenge of transforming the Indian economy into a knowledge economy. It looks at change management of the economy.

Gendering the Knowledge Economy: Comparative Perspectives by Sylvia Walby, Heidi Gottfried, Karin Gottschall, and Mari Osawa ".. Meticulously detailed, providing empirically grounded analysis.

Diversity in the Knowledge Economy and Society: Heterogeneity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship by Age Mariussen, Aris Kaloudis, and Elias Carayannis The authors address the concept of heterogeneity in a multi-disciplinary fashion.

HAUNTING THE KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY Jane Kenway, Elizabeth Bullen, Johannah Fahey, and Simon Robb. The knowledge economy is a potent force in national policy circles. Illuminates the knowledge economy's shortcomings and points to alternative possible systems of exchange and sets of values.

Regional Knowledge Economies: Markets, Clusters and Innovation (New Horizons in Regional Science) by Philip Cooke, Carla De Laurentis, Franz Todtling, and Michaela Trippl - The authors present a new post-sectoral, post-cluster policy methodology called `Innovative Platform Policy', which they believe is more attuned to the dynamics of the knowledge economy.

Wisdom in the Knowledge Economy (Routledge Research in Organizational Behaviour and Strategy) by David Rooney, Bernard Mckenna, and Peter Liesch

Knowledge Economies: Innovation, Organization and Location (Routledge Studies in Global Competition) by Wilfred Dolfsma.

Expanding the Knowledge Economy: Issues, Applications, Case Studies - Volume 4 Information and Communication Technologies and the Knowledge Economy - Two Volume Set by P. Cunningham and M. Cunningham. Commercializing and exploiting applied ICT research reduces the global Digital Divide and building a sustainable Knowledge Economy.

Finland As a Knowledge Economy: Elements of Success and Lessons Learned (WBI Development Studies) by Carl J Dahlman, Jorma Routti, Yla Anttila Pekka, and Carl Dahlman.

Visualising Intangibles: Measuring and Reporting in the Knowledge Economy by Stefano Zambon and Giuseppe Marzo, Stefano Zambon, and Giuseppe Marzo.

Korea As a Knowledge Economy: Evolutionary Process and Lessons Learned by Joonghae Suh and Derek H. C. Chen.

Strategy, Economic Organization, and the Knowledge Economy: The Coordination of Firms and Resources by Nicolai J. Foss "...Foss examines some foundational issues of the theory of economic organization, especially as it relates to concept of the 'knowledge economy'"--Book News

Understanding the Dynamics of a Knowledge Economy (Studies in Evolutionary Political Economy Series) by Wilfred Dolfsma and Luc Soete The 'knowledge economy' is a concept commonly deemed too ambiguous and elusive to hold any significance in current economic debate. An invaluable contribution to the lively debate surrounding the knowledge economy.

Advancing Knowledge and the Knowledge Economy by Brian Kahin and Dominique Foray - The contributors discuss the balkanization that results from the complexity of the knowledge economy.

Entrepreneurialism in Universities and the Knowledge Economy: Diversification and Organisational Change in European Higher Education by Michael Shattock.

The Firm as a Collaborative Community: Reconstructing Trust in the Knowledge Economy by Charles Heckscher and Paul Adler.

Social Capital in the Knowledge Economy: Theory and Empirics (Advances in Spatial Science)by Hans Westlund. Analyzes the social capital of the growing knowledge economy.

Six Billion Minds: Managing Outsourcing in the Global Knowledge Economy by Mark Minevich, Dr. Frank-Jürgen Richter, and Faisal Hoque. Global outsourcing as the next big element of the knowledge economy.

Japan, Moving Toward a More Advanced Knowledge Economy: Advanced Knowledge Creating Companies (WBI Development Studies) by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Tsutomu Shibata.

European Cities in the Knowledge Economy: The Cases of Amsterdam, Dortmund, Eindhoven, Helsinki, Manchester, Munich, Munster, Rotterdam and Zaragoza (EURICUR ... Institute for Comparative Urban Research)) by Peter M. J. Pol, Willem Van Winden, Paulus Woets, and Leo van den Berg. It demonstrates that the knowledge economy is a trend that affects every city depending on the specific local situation.

eAdoption And The Knowledge Economy: Issues, Applications, Case Studies (Information and Communication Technologies and the Knowledge) by Paul Cunningham and Miriam Cunningham.

Patents, Citations, and Innovations: A Window on the Knowledge Economy by Adam B. Jaffe, Manuel Trajtenberg, and Paul M. Romer. Shows the importance of the knowledge economy and sound economic analysis.

The Professional Knowledge Economy: The Management and Integration of Professional Services in Business Organizations by P. Tordoir. Useful to economists interested in the knowledge economy.

Lifelong Learning in the Global Knowledge Economy: Challenges for Developing Countries (Directions in Development) The global knowledge economy is transofrming the demands of the labor market in economies worldwide. 

Strategic Learning in a Knowledge Economy: Individual, Collective and Organizational Learning Processes (Knowledge Reader) by Robert L Cross and Sam Israelit. Strategic Learning in a Knowledge Economy features focused discussions of organizational core competencies, communities of practice, and other important learning topics.

The Knowledge Economy Academic and the Commodification of Higher Education (Understanding Education and Policy) by Tom Giberson and Greg Giberson.

Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy: Opportunities and Challenges for the Knowledge Economy (International Series on Technology Policy and Innovation) by Pedro Conceicao, David V. Gibson, Manuel V. Heitor, and Syed Shariq.

The Guru Guide to the Knowledge Economy: The Best Ideas for Operating Profitably in a Hyper-Competitive World by Joseph H. Boyett and Jimmie T. Boyett.

Public Policy in Knowledge-Based Economies: Foundations and Frameworks (New Horizons in Public Policy Series) by David Rooney, Greg Hearn, Thomas Mandeville, and Richard Joseph.

Managing Multinationals in a Knowledge Economy, Volume 15: Economics, Culture, and Human Resources (Advances in International Management) by Joseph Cheng and Michael Hitt.

Constructing the Infrastructure for the Knowledge Economy: Methods and Tools, Theory and Practice by Henry Linger, Julie Fisher, W. Gregory Wojtkowski, and Wita Wojtkowski.

The New Innovators: How Canadians are shaping the knowledge based economy by Roger Voyer and Patti Ryan.

Renovating the Ivory Tower: Canadian Universities and the Knowledge Economy (Policy Study, 37) by David Laidler.

China and the Knowledge Economy: Seizing the 21st Century (WBI Development Studies) by Carl J. Dahlman and Jean-Eric Aubert.

Bright Satanic Mills: Universities, Regional Development and the Knowledge Economy by Alan Harding, Alan Scott, Stephan Laske, and Christian Burtscher.