The productivity of knowledge mobilisation, knowledge capitalisation and product-related firm transmutation: exploring the case of small-scale garment-makers in Nairobi, Kenya

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Abstract

Highlighting the limitations of R&D, this paper champions design activity as the phenomenon that captures knowledge mobilisation at the firm level, especially amongst small firms in developing countries. Still, knowledge becomes a capital (factor input) proper when employed in production. Volumes of new products sold could suggest the market value of utilised knowledge capital the same way the resale value of plant and equipment often approximates the stock of physical capital. Conversely, shares of sales of new products arguably capture an altogether different phenomenon: product-related firm transmutation. Findings suggest that the deeper utilisation of knowledge has significant productivity effects and supersedes mere mobilisation of knowledge. Further, undergoing transmutation towards the production of more of new products relative to incumbent products has no significant relationship with labour productivity. Firms should therefore prioritise the deeper exploitation of given new knowledge rather than potentially prodigal shifts in production towards new products as such.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalIndustry and Innovation
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2016

Keywords

  • knowledge
  • developing countries
  • micro and small enterprises
  • firm performance
  • design

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