Keywords: strategic knowledge networks, economic development, regional development, natural resources, resource management, inter-organisational collaboration, regions, collaborative initiatives, stakeholder conflicts, global economy, globalisation, mining, mineral extraction, energy, forestry, innovation, inductive theories, Canada, forest products, timber, performance implications, resource-based industries, British Columbia, lumber, sustainability, sustainable development, sustainable economy
Collaborating for sustainability: strategic knowledge networks, natural resource management and regional development
Many firms have turned to strategies based on collaborative initiatives with stakeholders to generate the valuable knowledge resources needed to be successful in today's global economy. Firms in natural resource-based industries such as mining, energy and forestry, which typically provide the backbone for regional development in their production locations, have become leaders in establishing innovative sustainability initiatives that integrate a range of stakeholder interests. Using a case-based inductive theory-building approach, this paper presents a model of a strategic knowledge network based on collaboration between firms in Canada's west coast forest products industry and their stakeholders. It presents a three-phase model with the important knowledge creating variables, the knowledge resources accruing from the network, and the performance implications for the firms. The model has value for firms in other resource-based industries that face stakeholder conflicts and are working to incorporate sustainability principles into their strategies.