Labour markets and the geography of firm learning
Appears in the following Collection
AbstractThroughout history, the introduction of new technologies has influenced economic, social, cultural, and human development. Today, the rapid development of new information and communication technologies (ICT) is changing society and work life radically. The global expansion and diffusion of ICT have contributed to growth in both the supply of and the demand for new technologies. From 1970 to 2015, the Norwegian ICT services industry had a yearly growth in value creation of on average 8.4 per cent. Today, more than 50 per cent of employment in ICT services is located within in the capital-city region and nearly 75 per cent of total employment is located within either the capital-city region or the three largest urban agglomerations. Thus, the ICT services industry is strongly concentrated in large-city regions. This PhD thesis deals with the question of how the knowledge dynamics of urban spaces shapes the Norwegian ICT services industry. The thesis is premised on the view that individuals learn and develop their skills and competencies at the workplace, and that knowledge is therefore exchanged between firms and industries through the mobility of employees. Accordingly, firms develop by interacting with the external labour market, searching for individually embodied competencies that they need. The thesis explores how the mobility of employees is interlinked with the characteristics of surrounding labour markets and shaped by human resource management (HRM) practices of individual firms. The knowledge dynamics of the ICT services industry is explored from three complementary perspectives: 1) urban locations and how they influence recruitment channels that are open and used by firms, 2) firms’ individual recruitment behaviours, and 3) individuals’ career paths. The thesis links research in economic geography to the HRM field. During the last ten years, much attention has been paid to large-scale studies investigating how labour market externalities affect firm learning and innovation. Nevertheless, limited attention has been paid to in-depth analysis of the mechanisms at play at the micro level that link firms to their respective local labour markets. Research in economic geography can gain from the HRM field through advancing and nuancing current theories on the behaviour of firms in different spatial contexts. Conversely, the HRM field has tended to relate knowledge management solely to the endogenous and intra-organisational dimension of the firm. The boundary-spanning activities of KIBS organisations argue in favour of paying more attention to knowledge management as increasingly being shaped by external conditions. ICT services firms, and KIBS firms more generally, operate as open and dynamic entities, and the organisational capabilities of the firms are closely connected to the ability to manage tacit, non-standardised, and individually embodied knowledge transcending organisational boundaries. The overarching conclusion is that inter-sectoral competence mobility is a crucial source of learning and knowledge development for ICT services firms. The findings indicate that rather than seeing tacit knowledge as sticky and place-specific per se, its stickiness rests in the embodied skills and competencies available in certain locations. The competencies available in certain locations are therefore decisive in firm formation, learning opportunities, and industrial development. Thus, the industrial development of the Norwegian ICT services industry is strongly connected to new market opportunities, but also to the labour markets that allow firms to access the skilled employees they must have to identify and pursue such opportunities.
List of papers
|Paper 1: Ingvild Jøranli & Sverre J. Herstad (2017) Urban concentration and labour market linkages in the Norwegian ICT services sector, European Planning Studies, 25:10, 1734-1755, DOI: 10.1080/09654313.2017.1337726 The paper is not available in DUO due to publisher restrictions. The published version is available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/09654313.2017.1337726|
|Paper 2: Ingvild Jøranli, (2018) Managing organisational knowledge through recruitment: searching and selecting embodied competencies. Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 22 Issue: 1, pp.183-200. The published article is not included in the thesis. The accepted paper is available here: http://urn.nb.no/URN:NBN:no-61994|
|Paper 3: Invild Jøranli. Recruitment and the socio-spatial context of learning: Linking cognitive, social, organisational, institutional, and geographical dimensions of proximity. Under review at Industrial and corporate change. (Date of submission: 30.09.2017) To be published. The paper is not available in DUO awaiting publishing.|
|Paper 4: Invild Jøranli. Competence mobility in knowledge-intensive services organisations: Open issues in contemporary research. Submitted to Human Resource Management Journal (Date of submission: 13.03.2018) To be published. The paper is not available in DUO awaiting publishing.|