Socioeconomic development in the context of Uruguay: a knowledge-based approach

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Competitiveness Review


Emerald Publishing Limited

Place of Publication

United Kingdom


School of Business and Law




Alonso, D. (2017). Socioeconomic development in the context of Uruguay: A knowledge-based approach. Competitiveness Review, 27(5), 476-494.


Purpose: The purpose of this exploratory study is to examine the relevance and impact of knowledge in the context of Uruguay’s present and future socioeconomic development through the lens of the knowledge-based theory of the firm (KBTF). Design/methodology/approach: The perspectives of 47 key informants, predominantly representatives of public and private Uruguayan institutions, including chambers of commerce and producer associations, were gathered through unstructured, face-to-face interviews. Findings: Aligned with the KBTF, the significance of tacit knowledge, complemented with explicit knowledge, was revealed, particularly in the more traditional industries. Indeed, industry-based (tacit) knowledge evolving for generations has been strengthened by innovative practices, enhancing the appeal and image of key commodities and the nation’s exports. Additional elements highlighted in the KBTF, such as problem-solving, knowledge integration and application and knowledge specialisation, were identified. Originality/value: Essentially, the study highlights the different associations between the KBTF, the various forms of acquiring knowledge (tacit, explicit), innovation and resulting impacts on food quality and increased product recognition for a developing economy. Moreover, the findings, which illustrate that crucial improvements can be achieved through knowledge-based approaches, could also be considered in the context of other emerging economies that are aiming to attain further socioeconomic development through maximising the benefits of knowledge. In addition, the study addresses a theme that has been sporadically presented in the academic literature, especially when studying developing economies and their industries.



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