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What creates innovation in a globalized knowledge economy? A cybernetic point of view

Jon‐Arild Johannessen (Harstad University College, Harstad, Norway)
Bjørn Olsen (Bodø Graduate School of Business, Bodø, Norway)


ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 18 October 2011




The purpose of this paper is to uncover processes and the corresponding social mechanisms promoting innovation in organisations.


It is the integration of organisational learning, the internal knowledge base of the company and its external knowledge base, viewed in relation to innovations in organisations, which are the main elements discussed in this paper. In the present paper, it is the systemic angle of incidence which will be used.


An increased focus on information, knowledge and organisational learning, has provided a deeper understanding of factors and processes conducive to innovation and eventually to sustainable competitive advantages. However, little attention has been given to social mechanisms triggering innovations, which are uncovered in this paper.

Practical implications

A conceptual model, which represents a synthesis of the social mechanisms which influence those processes affecting innovation in social systems is presented.


The idea is that when several knowledge domains (practical, theoretical, internal and external) are connected for one specific purpose, the inherent variety may release what is creatively new, igniting innovation in social systems.



Johannessen, J. and Olsen, B. (2011), "What creates innovation in a globalized knowledge economy? A cybernetic point of view", Kybernetes, Vol. 40 No. 9/10, pp. 1395-1421.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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