Inter-Organizational Networks, Informal Learning and Knowledge Flows

Monte Sant'Angelo, Foggia, Italy, June 28, 2011 | © Courtesy of iuk/Flickr.
Monte Sant'Angelo, Foggia, Italy, June 28, 2011 | © Courtesy of iuk/Flickr.

On March 29, 2019, Piergiuseppe Morone, Roberta Sisto and Richard Taylor have published an article entitled “Knowledge diffusion and geographical proximity: a multi-relational networks approach” in Open Agriculture.

A Blog Post by Pablo Markin.


In their article, Piergiuseppe Morone, Roberta Sisto and Richard Taylor have investigated the importance of informal organizational learning activities in relation to formal networks that mediate between companies and their stakeholders on the  basis of a case study in Foggia, Italy, that has explored “knowledge flows among small organic food firms and related supporting institutions” (129). The key insight of this study is that “the existence of networks is necessary to promote informal knowledge flows, yet not sufficient by itself” (129). As these authors note, industry clusters tend to generate “a business and social environment conducive to the acquisition of the benefits of proximity deriving from imitation, vicarious learning, quick adoption, and technical change and innovation introduced thanks to the generation of collective new knowledge” (130).

Furthermore, Morone, Sisto and Taylor contend that business-relevant “learning processes are deeply informal, as tacit and uncodified knowledge can only be acquired and shared by means of intensive and direct interactions […] [since the] processes of acquiring and transforming differentiated, dispersed, and localised knowledge are costly and require specific co-ordination activities” (130). For this study based on the methodology of Social Network Analysis, its authors have used a sample of 32 organizations for focus group interviews and a sample of 16 firms for the collection of empirical data concerning networking activities, local network configurations, and inter-company interactions (132). Based on its analysis results, this paper has indicated that “in certain geographical contexts, notwithstanding the existence of a rather cohesive network, knowledge flows can remain a fairly marginalised element” (136).

Therefore, Morone and his colleagues have suggested that “[l]ocal production systems need to remove various hurdles before being able to take advantage of the positive effects of agglomeration among firms and of their spatial proximity” (136). Likewise, this research project has led to the conclusion that “the fostering of knowledge diffusion requires a policy agenda able to stimulate knowledge creation and to facilitate sharing patterns among involved stakeholders” (136).

By Pablo Markin


Featured Image Credits: Monte Sant’Angelo, Foggia, Italy, June 28, 2011 | © Courtesy of iuk/Flickr.


Cite this article as: Pablo Markin, "Inter-Organizational Networks, Informal Learning and Knowledge Flows," in Open Access Blog, 06/12/2019, https://oab.hypotheses.org/1031.

Reference

Morone, Piergiuseppe, Roberta Sisto, and Richard Taylor. “Knowledge diffusion and geographical proximity: a multi-relational networks approach.” Open Agriculture 4.1 (2019): 129-138.


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