Authors: Jesper Manniche and Stefania Testa.
This paper aims to contribute to research on the knowledge dimension of industrial innovation and competitive advantage by combining two conceptual constructs that are applied in growing but separate bodies of research. One, the so-called “SAS model”, regards knowledge bases of firms and distinguishes between Synthetic, Analytical and Symbolic knowledge. The second, the “Worlds of Production” construct, classifies firms according to differences in technologies and markets and outlines four possible action frameworks within which companies operate and innovate. Combining these conceptualizations seems to enrich analyses within both perspectives and provide a useful framework for studies on knowledge dynamics in different economic contexts. Empirical evidence regarding knowledge dynamics of two “alternative food” producers is presented, indicating that symbolic knowledge which in current literature is mainly delimited and described within cultural industries, may also be relevant for other industries such as the alternative food sub-sector.