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The virtual is reality! On physical and virtual space in software firms’ knowledge formation

Journal article
Authors Heidi Wiig Aslesen
Roman Martin
Stafania Sardo
Published in Entrepreneurship and Regional Development
ISSN 0898-5626
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Business Administration, Management & Organisation
Language en
Links https://doi.org/10.1080/08985626.20...
Keywords Virtual space, knowledge sources, geographical proximity, software firm, Norway, Sweden
Subject categories Economic Geography, Economics and Business

Abstract

To understand how knowledge is created and exchanged, it is necessary to unwrap the role played by the physical and virtual spaces. The extant research offers interesting findings when it comes to the relationships among regional, institutional and organizational characteristics, innovation and firms’ abilities to link up to global knowledge sources. A focus on the role of informal and low-cost mechanisms, both regional and global, has extended our understanding of their role in knowledge formation. However, the physical space has dominated this literature to the detriment of the virtual space. The inclusion of the virtual space, both as an interaction space and as a different and complementary dimension, makes it possible to gain new insights into knowledge formation in a digitalizing world. Based on in-depth interviews with small- and medium-sized software companies in two urban agglomerations in Norway and Sweden, this paper explores the use of physical and virtual spaces. The findings show that these spaces interact and mutually influence each other. The world is not ‘flattening’ due to ongoing digitalization; moreover, urban agglomerations are still important places in which these spaces are optimized and unified.

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