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Combinatorial knowledge bases, proximity and agency across space: the case of the high-end medical device industry in Shanghai

Shuaijun Xue and Robert Hassink

PEGIS from Institute for Economic Geography and GIScience, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business

Abstract: Recently the knowledge base (KB) concept has been extended with combinational knowledge bases (CKB) in order to overcome the dichotomy between analytical, synthetic and symbolic KB. So far, however, empirical studies on these CKB have insufficiently focused on multi-scalar mechanisms, which is a gap we would like to fill with the help of this paper. Therefore, it aims at analyzing CKB from a proximity, agency and multi-scalar perspective. Through interviews with high-end medical device companies from Shanghai, findings show that, first, in this local industry a combination of analytical and synthetic knowledge prevail. Secondly, knowledge interactions differ at different spatial scales, which is strongly related to the characteristics of the local KB and the position of local knowledge in the global industrial knowledge value chain. Thirdly, in this industry cognitive proximity is the key factor facilitating combinatorial knowledge interactions at all spatial scales. Institutional and geographical proximity are obviously more important at the local scale. Fourthly, concerning the effect of agencies on proximities, place leadership and institutional entrepreneurship work respectively at the local and national level, while the role of innovative entrepreneurship is observed at all levels.

Keywords: Combinational knowledge bases; proximity; agency; multi-scalar perspective (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 29 pages
Date: 2021
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-geo, nep-knm and nep-ure
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