I just came across the Evolution of Business Knowledge project. The project is a collaboration between many schools in the UK with projects that all have to with the combination of knowledge and process. There are a number of sub-projects and papers at their website to peruse.
The convergence of wide-ranging empirical trends in the UK economy with important shifts in the way we understand knowledge have helped to define a strong agenda for social science research on the evolution of business knowledge. We can summarise this convergence as follows:
1. The rise of the knowledge-based economy has important implications for the way business works. In particular, firms' ability to process, rather than merely possess, knowledge is increasingly seen as key to their competitive performance. This is reflected in studies of, for example, changing patterns of innovation, the importance of 'absorptive capacity', and the impact of 'dynamic capabilities'.
2. Thanks to a number of empirical studies and theoretical contributions, since the 1980's there has been a growing realization amongst researchers that the knowledge of the firm is not confined to the R&D lab, but that many aspects of business performance are indebted to the pervasive effects of organizational and group learning, which take the form, for example, of organizational routines and communities of practice.
3. The ability of firms to treat knowledge as a resource to be exploited more intensively (as in Knowledge Management systems) is limited by its social embeddedness. Knowledge cannot be readily transferred, and its effective exploitation often hinges on shifts in underlying social relations.
4. The knowledge label has also emerged as a response to the activity flows created by the blurring of established boundaries between science, government and business. Interest in 'knowledge transfer' reflects the increasing interpenetration of commercial interests and scientific endeavour.
It follows from these points that the study of the Evolution of Business Knowledge needs to grasp both the diverse range of social and institutional settings which condition managerial and organizational practices, and the heterogeneous nature of knowledge and learning as it is created, transferred and embedded within these settings. The 14 projects which make up the EBK programme consequently span four major themes, each of which characterises the different facets of knowledge and its evolution within a business context.