This chapter analyzes the building of firms’ knowledge capital in its historical context, that of industrial capitalism. It begins with a history of the integration between science and technology, showing how companies, manufactures and large industry have gradually developed strategies for the appropriation of scientific and technical information and knowledge. The formation of enterprise knowledge capital has been largely supported by the governments and the progressive structuring of National Innovation Systems (section 2.1). The second part of this chapter deals more specifically with the modern era and details the strategies deployed by companies to establish, enrich and exploit their knowledge capital. The largest companies, organized in networks, rely on their internal investments but increasingly on their external collaborations (open innovation) as well. These partnerships of the network firm also involve smaller companies, which benefit from the strength of these networks and, in fact, often become dependent on them. They also involve academic research, which has become a major source of new knowledge, through the third mission of universities, namely “research commercialization” (section 2.2).
2.1. The first forms of knowledge capital and the formation of national innovation systems
2.1.1. The science–technology relationship: from opposition to integration
Historians of science and/or technology, economists, and sociologists ...