Issue date: 03 August 2004

ISSUE DATE: 03/08/04

Bristol Business School, part of the University of the West of England, is holding an international conference which will address changes affecting firms in the new ‘knowledge economy’. The conference: 'Shifting Boundaries: Governance, Competence and Economic Organisation in the Knowledge Economy' has attracted delegates from around the world.

The two-day residential workshop (2-3 September 2004) is organised by Kyle Bruce and Judith Jordan from the Strategy & International Business Research Unit (SIBRU) at Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol, in conjunction with the journal Technology Analysis & Strategic Management

The ‘knowledge economy’ is defined as ‘the increased use of knowledge, rather than physical assets, to produce economic benefits’. The conference focuses on the way organisational boundaries are changing and becoming more permeable as the economic environment becomes increasingly complex and uncertain. It brings together those working in several parallel but complementary arenas, who seldom have the opportunity to engage in scholarly debate.

Judith Jordan explains, “The new ‘knowledge economy’ is characterised by increasing complexity and uncertainty. In this environment the boundaries of organisations shift and change as firms seek to develop or acquire new competencies in order to survive and flourish. The very concept of 'the organisation' has become contestable: many business units have close and intense relationships with other business units, both within and outside 'their firm', while many key staff clearly identify with several different types of organisation, particularly personal and professional networks.

“This conference will explore several parallel, but complementary, perspectives of the firm including the transaction-cost economics or governance perspective, the resource-based or competence perspective, and the knowledge-based perspective. The conference is designed to bring together researchers working in these separate traditions to explore the ways in which organisational boundaries are being displaced and redefined. In particular the workshop will focus on the ways in which the search for new organisational capabilities and the introduction of new technologies creates ‘fuzzy’ boundaries within and between firms.”
Key speakers include: Nicolai Foss (Professor of Industrial Economics and Strategy, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark), Neil Kay (Professor of Business Economics, University of Strathclyde, UK), Bart Nooteboom (Professor of Organization, Tilburg University, Netherlands), J C Spender (Visiting Professor, Open University Business School, UK)

Editor’s notes

For those wishing to attend the conference administrator is Alexis Harding e-mail: for a booking form or telephone: 0117 32 82293.
For further information see:
This workshop is designed to provide in-depth discussion in a forum that permits personal conversation so the number of participants is limited to 50. The conference will be based at Burwalls, an impressive Victorian mansion set in its own woodland overlooking the Bristol Suspension Bridge and the Avon Gorge in the centre of Bristol. Given the limited number of places early booking is advised.

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