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Title: An analysis of regional innovation processes using operational research tools : the case of South Korea
Author: Han, Ungkyu
ISNI:       0000 0004 5349 4817
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2014
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Considering the pivotal contributions of technological advances and policies in developing regional innovation and competitiveness, this thesis begins with an open question which is ‘How do regions fulfil their territorial innovation potential and become competitive based on science and technology from a systems perspective?’ Prior studies have leaned towards a top-down view in evaluating the performances and competitiveness of regions, a correlation-based view in defining relations between resources and performances, and a static view in capturing the behaviour of regional innovation processes. However, these perspectives do not fully account for (1) ‘regional diversity’ which should consider context-specific conditions across different regions; (2) ‘regional structure’ in which functions (or capabilities) play a role in bridging the gap between resources (capacities) and performances to construct feedback loops for regional innovation processes; and (3) ‘regional behaviour’ which should reflect dynamics and evolution in terms of regional innovation, competitiveness, and policy effects. To comprehensively redress the research gaps in the extant literature, this thesis addresses three sub-questions: (1) Which regions are competitive in terms of R&D efficiency?; (2) How do regional innovation systems operate in the resource−function−performance structure?; and (3) How does regional competitiveness behave over time, and what policy(ies) can help or hinder regional competitiveness? Thus, through a case study focusing on Korea, this thesis aims to accomplish three research objectives. Specifically, it identifies the most competitive Korean region in terms of regional R&D efficiency and its time-dependent changes (Research Objective 1), a resource-function-performance structure comprising evolutionary innovation processes (Research Objective 2), and, based on this structure, policy measures promoting dynamic regional competitiveness (Research Objective 3). To achieve this purpose, this thesis employs a ‘three-paper route scheme’, comprising three publishable academic papers. For Research Question 1 (see Paper 1), this thesis investigates the R&D efficiency patterns of Korean regions for the period 2005–2009, through data envelopment analysis from a static perspective and the Malmquist Productivity Index from a dynamic perspective. The analysis results categorise Korean regions into deteriorating, lagging, and improving groups. Further, the results designate Busan as the most promising region with the largest growth in R&D efficiency over the long-term, despite its status as an inefficient region. Then, regarding Research Question 2 (see Paper 2), this thesis analyses Busan’s knowledge-based triple helix innovation process, by means of a causal loop diagram based on an interviewing method. For further analysis, this thesis examines the effects of system failures and policies on the operation of Busan’s innovation system. The analysis reveals that the effects of system failures and relevant policies spread across the domains of knowledge development, knowledge diffusion, and knowledge deployment. Moreover, the results indicate that the suggested policies appear intuitively effective; however, from a system-based perspective, the policies create counterintuitive effects on knowledge development in the industry and government research institute (GRI) spheres, knowledge diffusion in the university sphere, and knowledge deployment in the university and GRI spheres. To address Research Question 3 (see Paper 3), this thesis transforms the causal loop diagram, developed in Paper 2, to a simplified system dynamics model of capacity−capability−performance for analysing dynamic regional competitiveness and policy effects on it. According to the analysis results, the increase in the stock of human resources, increase in the success rate for knowledge development, and reduction in the lead time for knowledge commercialisation are highly effective in helping to intensify the governance of reinforcing feedback loops to promote the sustainable development of Busan’s regional competitiveness.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD Industries. Land use. Labor