Increasingly in the public discourse there are references to the knowledge economy, knowledge society, knowledge workers and knowledge organisations. The argument is that knowledge is becoming the main economic resource, replacing the natural resources that drove the industrial revolution. The new knowledge economy is driven by knowledge development, innovation and highly skilled employees. Increasing investment in higher education and in universities is in line with this strategy and understanding. In an earlier book, Creating Collaborative Advantage edited with Richard Ennals, Professor Hans Christian Garmann Johnsen argued that it is knowledge that links social and economic processes. He believes that what is missing in the current discussion on innovation is a conceptualisation of exactly what knowledge is. In The New Natural Resource, he digs deeper into what it is and how it develops and subsequently leads to widespread change. The author argues that knowledge is inherently a social phenomenon. That is why social processes are closely linked to economic development, and why this relationship becomes even more apparent in the new knowledge economy. Knowledge is not an objective entity, established once and for all. Knowledge development is interrelated with values, norms, perceptions and interpretations. We need to know what the mechanisms are by which knowledge becomes legitimate, true and relevant.
Hans Christian Garmann Johnsen is a professor in the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Agder in Norway and an adjunct professor at GjÃ¸vik University College. Professor Garmann Johnsen is a specialist in the study of working life and innovation and is the Centre Leader at the Centre for Advanced Studies in Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) at Agder. He has an MBA from the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration and gained his PhD at the Copenhagen Business School. He has been a visiting scholar and fellow at several universities including UC Berkeley and Cornell in the USA and Kingston University in the UK. For 15 years Garmann Johnsen has been involved in a national research programme into collaborative innovation. He has written and presented papers and authored journal articles published worldwide and co-edited the book, Creating Collaborative Advantage.
’This is an ambitious and illuminating book, based on broad and deep knowledge of the international literature, and grounded in practical engagement in research. Without offering a grandiose overview, in a series of essays Hans Christian Garmann Johnsen makes valuable links between social theory and the new challenges of the knowledge society. Readers will find familiar starting points, and new connections.’ Richard Ennals, Kingston Business School, Kingston University, UK ’It is a commonplace that knowledge is a social phenomenon. However, in this far-reaching and learning treatise, Hans Christian Garmann Johnsen explores the sociality of knowledge in a way that goes very substantially beyond the sociology of knowledge. Johnsen’s exploration takes him from Dilthey and Husserl to Hayek and Popper to Argyris and Richard Florida. Many new and fertile ideas are suggested when Johnsen wrestles with the thoughts of intellectual giants, past and present.’ Nicolai J. Foss, Copenhagen Business School, Norwegian School of Economics and Warwick University