Prometheus: Vol 25, No 2 (2007)

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Making Sense of Research: The Dynamics of Management Research in France
Bertrand Venard
Pages: 125-145


Management research has received little attention in the sociology of science. This qualitative survey explains the limited participation of French scholars in the international academic journals of management. The theoretical framework is social cognition. This paper focuses on the categorisation process and relevant attributes. Final discussion suggests new research avenues concerning categorisation automaticity, variability of attribute effect, mediation process, and category inhibition.

Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Innovation and Growth in the Service Economy
Jason Potts & Tom Mandeville
Pages: 147-159


We propose a theory of innovation in services based upon the development of new markets that exploit the powers of ICT to coordinate service production and delivery. As digital communications and computational infrastructure have developed over the past few decades, the scale and scope of the service sector has also evolved such that it is now, we believe, in the midst of a productivity revolution driven by the ICT enabled decomposition of services to their elemental parts and the subsequent gains through specialization and reintegration of these elements. This works to advance existing services and create new services, and so to drive the growth of economic activity. In this paper, we propose a theory of this evolutionary process.

Can We Make Sense of Knowledge Management’s Tangible Rainbow? A Radical Constructivist Alternative
Tim Ray & Stewart Clegg
Pages: 161-185


Nonaka and Takeuchi’s highly influential account of tacit–explicit knowledge‐conversion in Japan’s knowledge‐creating companies has been instrumental in Knowledge Management’s institutionalisation of Michael Polanyi’s distinction between ‘tacit knowledge’ and ‘explicit knowledge’. But tacit knowledge has been misunderstood and what Nonaka and Takeuchi claim in the name of explicit knowledge does not make sense. Whereas Polanyi was concerned with the discovery of absolute truth about ontological reality, Nonaka and his colleagues insist that truth is ‘in the eye of the beholder’. Yet, Nonaka et al.’s implicit nihilism seems to have gone unnoticed. Many people talk about explicit knowledge as if it existed on a par with scientific knowledge: a tangible commodity that is ‘as real as rocks’. Arguably, Nonaka and Takeuchi have offered a ‘lesson from Japan’ that has distorted Polanyi’s concept of tacit knowing, inspired unwarranted faith in the viability of ‘explicit knowledge’, and ignored the significance of power mediated by ‘high‐context’ communication. This paper uses Ernst von Glasersfeld’s work on radical constructivism to make sense of Polanyi’s insights into tacit knowing without invoking notions of metaphysical truth. With reference to knowing, learning and communicating in Japanese organisations, we suggest that a radical constructivist approach offers a viable alternative to Nonaka and Takeuchi’s knowledge‐conversion model.

Review Article: The Personalisation of Computing—from Behemoth to Desktop
Craig S. Webster
Pages: 187-193

Review Article: The Emergence of Dominance: Historical Narrative and Time–Place Periods
Peter Clark & Scott Taylor
Pages: 195-205

Book Reviews
Steve Conway , Annilee Game , Richard Joseph , Maria Paola Andreoni , Danny Kingsley & Bernard McKenna
Pages: 207-221

Contributors to this Issue
Page: 223