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Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics


Faggian and Dotzel Secure Funding for New Research on Knowledge Management and Rural Firms

July 12, 2016

AEDE’s Professor Alessandra Faggian has been chosen to receive a grant from the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development (NERCRD) based on a proposal she developed with advisee Kathryn Dotzel to study knowledge management strategies of rural firms working in the U.S. and to examine how these strategies impact the performance of these firms.

NERCRD is a research center at Penn State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences that partners with more than a dozen land grant academic institutions in the northeastern U.S. on research-based initiatives that create regional prosperity through entrepreneurial and cluster-based innovation while assuring the balanced uses of natural resources in livable communities.

Three proposals, including the one from Faggian and Dotzel, were chosen to be funded for the 2016-2017 academic year. Through this funding, NERCRD aims to support data access and research in rural business innovation and economic development.

The secured funding will be used to support Dotzel as a research assistant on the project as well as access to the USDA's Rural Establishment Innovation Survey (REIS), which the researchers will draw data from for the project. Released for the first time in 2015, REIS is a comprehensive and nationally representative survey on innovative technologies and practices, demand and use of finance, human resource practices and other relevant establishment data.

“The purpose of our research is to explore the relationship between knowledge management, which involves the formation of partnerships that allow firms to acquire and use new knowledge, and firm-level innovation,” Dotzel explains.

Faggian and Dotzel will focus on innovation search strategy, or which sources firms target for information about new opportunities or new ways of doing things, as well as the integration of technologies that facilitate data-driven decision-making and the dissemination of knowledge among employees, suppliers, and customers.

“By considering multiple metrics of innovation and technology use, our analysis will provide valuable insights into the relative importance of knowledge management strategies on the innovative performance of rural firms in the United States,” Dotzel said.

Faggian and Dotzel will present their research at the May 2017 NERCRD conference.

Image (left to right): Alessandra Faggian and Kathryn Dotzel