Knowledge Evolution and Societal Transformations

Knowledge Evolution and Societal Transformations

Action Theory to Solve Adaptive Problems

By Jerald Hage
Foreword by Michael Quinn Patton

Knowledge Evolution and Societal Transformation proposes a new paradigm based on the evolution of knowledge that synthesizes existing social science theories at three analytical levels. A central theme is how knowledge causes new problems and explains growing inequality. To solve these problems, systemic networks in education, economy, and political system are suggested.

Paperback, 418 Pages


May 2022

£45.00, $75.00

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About This Book

Knowledge is more than information but instead the organizing of information into theories and practices that allow us to do things and accomplish goals. The first stage of knowledge creation depended upon creative scientists and entrepreneurs, but the second stage required research laboratories and teams. Now cooperation between organizations is necessary to solve individual, organizational, institutional, and global problems that face us today.

Individuals presently are raised in four kinds of social contexts: traditional, modern, post-modern, and anomic. These contexts explain partisan divides as well as the inability of some to succeed in society. Post-modern contexts produce individuals who are cognitively complex, creative, critical but have empathy towards others. The acceleration in knowledge creation is caused by not only the growth of more post-modern individuals who are creative but organizational innovation and innovative regions. Organizational structures that discourage radical innovations are contrasted with those that facilitate it. Similarly, the histories of three innovative regions--Silicon Valley, Kistra in Sweden, and Hsinchu in Taiwan—are contrasted with the failure of Rt. 128 near Boston.

During the second wave of knowledge creation, social structures were differentiated vertically. Now in the third wave, the differentiation process is horizontal. In the stratification system this means different capitalist classes and work logics rather than social classes with super salaries, thus increasing social inequality. In the study of organizations, this translates into missionary and self-management forms where post-modern individuals obtain meaningful work and ask for customized service. In the study of networks it means the rise of systemic coordinated networks replacing supply chains.

Given the growing inefficiencies of labor markets, product/service markets, and public markets (elections), systemic coordinated networks are proposed as a solution. Furthermore, we need a national corps of individuals with special skills in sectors with shortages who can then be assigned to work in disadvantaged areas. Pre-school, primary school, and secondary school need to be reinvented to facilitate more upward social mobility. Agriculture and industry also require radical new innovations. To build a new civil society, governments have to encourage participation in programs that help others.


“New knowledge can create but it also disrupts, argues Hage in this captivating deep-dive into the complexities of knowledge, human development and social evolution. Drawing on his massive experience, masterful knowledge of the literature and extensive conceptual acumen, Hage charts how we can address contemporary dilemmas of knowledge and reflects on strategies for integrating knowledge into models of individual, organizational, societal and economic development.” —Philip Shapira, Professor of Innovation Management and Policy, University of Manchester, UK, and Director, Georgia Tech Program in Science, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA

“Knowledge Evolution and Societal Transformations by Jerald Hage is a truly original masterpiece that provides an interesting and stimulating reading for scholars of the evolution of knowledge and its societal outcomes. The book is an intellectual tour de force of a new paradigm that incorporates micro and macro approaches and offers three analytical levels.” —Amalya L. Oliver, George S. Wise Chair in Sociology, Chair, The Hoffman Leadership and Responsibility Program, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Author Information

Jerald Hage has spent his professional life combining theory and research to solve individual, organizational, and societal problems. He has published 17 books and over 100 articles on the themes of organizational innovation, science and technology, post-industrial lives, the active state, and systemic coordinated networks. He has also taught and consulted in a number of countries.


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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations; Foreword: A Magnum Opus for Our Times and the Future by Michael Quinn Patton; Odyssey: Social Capital Acknowledgements in the Intellectual Journey through the Micro, Macro and Meso Worlds of Reality; Chapter One Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Knowledge: Punctuated Equilibrium Theory, Knowledge Creators, Structural Change, Adaptive Problems, and Institutional Solutions; Part One Knowledge Creators or Problem Solvers: Creative Minds, Radical Organizational Innovations, and Regional Environments That Encourage Higher Radical Innovation Rates; Chapter Two Knowledge Creators: Individual Creativity; Chapter Three Knowledge Creators: Radical Organizational Innovation; Chapter Four Knowledge Creators: Institutional Environments That Encourage Radical Innovation; Part Two Structural Change: Structural Diff erentiation and Dediff erentiation in Occupations and Their Classes, Organizations and Their Contexts, Networks and Their Cohesions; Chapter Five Structural Changes in the Stratifi cation System: New Occupations and Kinds of Social Classes; Chapter Six Structural Change in the Organization– Context Nexus: New Organizational Forms and Collaborative Competition; Chapter Seven Structural Change in Network Cohesion Links: New Coordinated Network Systems and Collaborative Social Cohesion; Part Three Adaptive Problems and Institutional Transformations Required to Create Meaningful Work, Employment, and Social Integration; Chapter Eight Knowledge Evolution and Adaptive Problems of the Skill Formation/ Research Capability System: Institutional Transformations That Produce New Skills and Reduce Alienation; Chapter Nine Knowledge Evolution and Adaptive Problems of the Economic System: Institutional Transformations to Create Decision- Making Jobs and Reduce Powerlessness; Chapter Ten Knowledge Evolution and Adaptive Problems of the Political System: Institutional Transformations to Create Safety Nets for the Socially Isolated/Mentally Ill and Constructing a New Democracy; Chapter Eleven Everything We Must Do to Further Social Evolution and Institutional Transformations: Solutions, Strategies, and the Stickiness of Path Dependencies; A Future Voyage: The Fourth Stage of Knowledge Creation; References; Index.


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