Knowledge Building and Organizational Behavior: The Mondragón Case from a Social Innovation Perspective
The international handbook on social innovation, Frank Moulaert , Diana MacCallum , Abid Mehmood , Abdelillah Hamdouch, eds., Edward Elgar Publishing, 2014
11 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2014
Date Written: January 31, 2014
The new conceptualization of innovation in postmodern management studies has generated quite some marketecian noise. Still, other community-embedded approaches to innovation bypassing a unilateral global competition logic are possible. To this end, Geoff Mulgan and his colleagues contextualize the challenges and issues that territories and business nodes confront in a globalized world, offering the idea of ‘creative ecosystems’ and the metaphor of the Bees and the Trees (Mulgan 2007; Murray et al. 2010). According to this idea, socially innovative experiences are based on an ‘alliance’ between active agents of innovation (creators, innovators and entrepreneurs) – the ‘bees’ – and active agents of validation (universities, companies and institutions) – ‘trees’. When bees and trees live together in the same urban area they can, through their mutually beneficial interactions, create creative local communities. Presently, at grassroots level in cities, such ‘alliance’ is required between the post-crisis large-scale projects investors and social entrepreneurs. Without an alliance between these two types of agents, it is not possible for social innovation to occur, because the resources and structures needed to generate the emerging dynamics that would lead to innovation would not be available. In this chapter, this approach of a ‘bees and trees’ alliance (Figure 16.1) is referred to as a biocentric approach – it represents an ‘ecologization’ of the economy and its relations with the local community and civic society as a whole.
As the chapter will show, the biocentric approach in the Mondragón case relates to the critical value of land and territory as primary sources of social innovation.
Keywords: Social Innovation, Mondragon, Social Capital, Cooperativism, City-Region, Glocal Business, Entrepreneurship,
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