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dr. R.P.J.H. (Roel) Rutten

Assistant Professor 

TS Social and Behavioral Sciences
Department of Organization Studies


My research focuses on knowledge creation and applies this to the three areas discussed below. My disciplinary background is organization sociology and economic geography. Given my interest in researching knowledge creation as a process, my empirical approach is mainly, though not exclusively, qualitative in nature.

 Knowledge creation and networks

I conduct research into how characteristics of networks ? such as organizational structure, governance mechanisms, network composition, trust, communication, etc. ? affect the knowledge creation process in networks. In my research, networks form the organizational context within which individuals create knowledge. I look at knowledge creation as a process of social interaction. My research contributes to the literature on the knowledge-based view of firms and networks from an organizational-sociological perspective.

 Proximities and knowledge creation

Elaborating on the previous, I argue that knowledge is embedded in social contexts. Actors that share a social context find it easier to create knowledge, while knowledge creation across social contexts is more difficult. Different forms of proximities may constitute a social context, either individually or in combination, in the following ways:

-       Spatial proximity: When actors share the customs and traditions of a location/place.

-       Social proximity: When actors share the norms and values of a (social or professional) network.

-       Technological/cognitive proximity: Such as found in for example communities of practice.

Understanding the role of proximities with regard to knowledge creation is important to explain the competitiveness of networks and places.

 Knowledge creation and regional economic development

I research why some places/regions have a better economic performance than others and argue that this is because some places/regions are more conducive to knowledge creation than others. This research connects to the economic-geographic literature on Territorial Innovation Models, in particular the Learning Region, and it connects this literature to new insights with regard to regional economic development, such as creativity and social capital.



Most recent publications

Last amended: 05 September 2017