Inderscience Publishers

The role of knowledge and information in innovation: the case of genetic engineering

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Knowledge and information play key roles in the perception and acceptance of innovations, particularly when innovations are associated with risks. In an empirical study, we studied these aspects with regard to innovations based on genetic engineering. In particular, we focused on aspects of information behaviour such as interest in information and credibility of information sources. Genetic engineering is a technology that is controversially discussed and several representative studies have shown that consumers have little knowledge about the technology, are sceptical regarding genetic engineering experts and are not likely to buy the respective products. Using a higher education sample (270 students), we found that even a lower percentage rated their knowledge on science and genetic engineering as being good, interest in various aspects of genetic engineering was not dependent on the self-assessed knowledge of the respondents, and information sources were rated differently with regard to their credibility.

Keywords: knowledge, information, communication, risk, credibility, genetic engineering

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