Inderscience Publishers

'Knowledge capital' and innovation in global corporations

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Currently, the formation and the protection of a knowledge base is of major importance to firms. In this paper, we explain the formation of the firm's 'knowledge capital'. We develop the idea of the existence of a growing contradiction between, on the one hand, the socialisation of the 'knowledge capital', and, on the other hand, the tendency toward its oligopolistic appropriation, which is made easier notably by the evolution of patent laws and practices. This contradiction can be explained by today's profitability imperative and its related necessity to reduce the risk for the cost and the length of technological progress.

Keywords: knowledge capital, technological innovation, globalisation, oligopolistic socialisation, appropriation, profitability imperative, patents, technology

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