There is growing acknowledgement that a knowledge economy is more than just an information and technology rich economic system. In fact, a knowledge economy is grounded in a more holistic and balanced view of a knowledge society and measured in terms of knowledge transactions. It is important for knowledge scientists to remember that economics is a value-based science. Recent research suggests that knowledge transactions flourish where common values and trust are in place. This poster will explore the role that common values of respect for the environment and for spirituality and belief systems play in encouraging knowledge transactions. The poster also considers how we might measure and track these factors – growing movement of ecotheology and a diverse religious community – in a revised knowledge economic index model.
Recent research into knowledge economy indices and intellectual capital suggests that knowledge cities are the key level of aggregation for constructing and sustaining a knowledge society. In Dr. Bedford’s teaching and research she identified five systems that make up a healthy knowledge city, including: (1) economic system; (2) societal regime; (3) civic context; (4) human development system; and (5) environment context. In the center of this model we see knowledge transactions – the production and consumption of knowledge, the exchange of ideas and knowledge, the building of understanding and learning. Knowledge transactions are – at base – economic transactions. However, we must remember that economics is a value-based science. Research suggests that trust, ethics, morals, belief systems and spirituality are values that influence knowledge transactions. The research questions posed in this exploratory research ask (1) how do these factors encourage knowledge transactions? (2) how do they align with the five systems? And (3) what indicators might we include in that knowledge economic index model to represent religion, belief systems and spirituality? Particular emphasis is given to the role of the ecotheology movement in creating knowledge cities (i.e., contributing to the Environment Context), the role that a rich and diverse religious environment plays in support strong community trust and relationships (i.e., the Societal Regime), and the impact of these factors on the intellectual capital of individuals (i.e., Human Development) . This research is exploratory. It aims to synthesize and represent what is known in these areas, to highlight gaps in understanding, and expose potential areas of research.
We expect the exploratory results will contribute new indicators to the Knowledge Economy Index which will be applied to the state of Ohio in 2014. In addition, we expect that the exploratory research will lead to new publications and presentations on the role of these factors in the knowledge sciences discipline. To date, there is little treatment of spirituality, religion or belief systems in that discipline. Our work with CSIR over the past three years has broken new ground and helped to move the focus of knowledge sciences beyond public and private sector organizations into the voluntary and societal regime. We believe this exploratory research will establish one further connection – to the growing movement of ecotheology.