Management, Rational or Creative: A Knowledge-Based Discussion

SMG Working Paper No. 14/2005

18 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2007

See all articles by J.-C. Spender

J.-C. Spender

Kozminski University; affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: December 2005


Methodological individualism is the doctrine that economic or social phenomena are ultimately grounded in individual knowing and choice. Recently numerous collective concepts have been introduced into our thinking about the firm - absorptive capacity, communities of practice, dynamic capabilities, social capital, organizational routines, and so on. As far as we can tell these are neither theoretically nor empirically well grounded. In this talk I consider what might be meant by the statement that 'only individuals can know'. I contrast notions of knowing as having and holding data, or a frame of meaning, or a skilled practice. I conclude that all manner of social entities can know in all respects save that of creating the knowledge that is then known.

JEL Classification: D8, M10, M19

Suggested Citation

Spender, J.-C. and Spender, J.-C., Management, Rational or Creative: A Knowledge-Based Discussion (December 2005). SMG Working Paper No. 14/2005, Available at SSRN: or

J.-C. Spender (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Kozminski University ( email )

ul. JagielloDska 57/59
Warsaw, 03-303


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