Explorations in Information Space: Knowledge, Actors, and Firms

Hardcover | January 16, 2008

byMax H. Boisot, Ian C. Macmillan, Kyeong Seok Han

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With the rise of the knowledge economy, the knowledge content of goods and services is going up just as their material content is declining. Economic value is increasingly seen to reside in the former - that is, in intangible assets - rather than in the latter. Yet we keep wanting to turnknowledge back into something tangible, something with definite boundaries which can be measured, manipulated, appropriated, and traded. In short, we want to reify knowledge. Scholars have been debating the nature of knowledge since the time of Plato. Many new insights have been gained from these debates, but little theoretical consensus has been achieved. Through six thematically linked chapters, the book articulates the theoretical approach to the production anddistribution of knowledge that underpins Max Boisot's conceptual framework, the Information Space or I-Space. In this way the book looks to provide theoretical and practical underpinnings to Boisot's book Knowledge Assets (OUP, 1998).Following an introductory chapter, how knowledge relates to data and information is first examined in chapter 1, and how different economic actors - entrepreneurs, managers, etc - use knowledge as a basis for action is explored in chapter 2. Chapter 3 looks at how the heterogeneity of economicactors arises naturally from their respective data processing strategies in spite of any similarities in the data that they might share. Chapter 4 argues, contra much transaction-based economics, that an organizational order must have preceded a market order, something that should be reflected inany knowledge-based theory of the firm. Chapter 5 discusses the cultural and institutional significance of different kinds of knowledge flows. Finally, chapter 6 presents an agent-based simulation model, SimISpace, that illustrates how the I-Space might be applied to concrete problems such those ofintellectual property rights. A concluding chapter proposes a research agenda based on the theorizing developed in the book.The approach the book sets out is used by a whole range of organizations to issues of knowledge management, policy, economics, and organizational and cultural change.

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With the rise of the knowledge economy, the knowledge content of goods and services is going up just as their material content is declining. Economic value is increasingly seen to reside in the former - that is, in intangible assets - rather than in the latter. Yet we keep wanting to turnknowledge back into something tangible, somethin...

Max H. Boisot is Professor of Strategic Management at the Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham. He is also Visiting Fellow at the Snider Center for Entrepreneurial Research, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and Associate Fellow at Templeton College, Oxford University. Between 1984 and 1989 he was dean a...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.78 inPublished:January 16, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199250871

ISBN - 13:9780199250875

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Table of Contents

Max H. Boisot: Introduction1. Max H. Boisot and Agusti Canals: Data, Information, and Knowledge: Have We Got It Right?2. Max H. Boisot and Ian. C. MacMillan: Crossing Epistemological Boundaries: Managerial and Entrepreneurial Approaches to Knowledge Management3. Max H. Boisot and Yan Li: Codification, Abstraction, and Firm Differences: A Cognitive Information-based Perspective4. Max H. Boisot and Yan Li.: Organizational versus Market Knowledge: From Concrete Embodiment to Abstract Representation5. Max H. Boisot: Moving to the Edge of Chaos: Bureaucracy, IT, and the Challenge of Complexity6. Max H. Boisot, Ian C. MacMillan, Kyeong Seok Han: Property Rights and Information Flows: A Simulation Approach7. Max H. Boisot: Conclusion

Editorial Reviews

`In a beautifully written collection of essays, Max Boisot develops his thinking on the intertwined concepts of space, time and knowledge. He is one of those rare authors who can speak lucidly and authoritatively across disciplinary boundaries. His prose compels our attention and the contentis far-reaching. Knowledge is more than mere information or data and all human societies have relied on its development. Nevertheless, recognizing the increasing importance of knowledge in modern economies, Boisot develops a challenging theoretical framework that provides invaluable insights aboutthe world in which we live.'Geoff Hodgson, Research Professor in Business Studies at the University of Hertfordshire