9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN19 Sociology of Professions

2009-09-03 09:00:00 2009-09-03 10:30:00 Thursday, 3 September 09:00 - 10:30 The Changing Cultures of Professional Work Building I, Auditório 2

Professionalization of Science and Technology Park Management: The Interplay of Globalization and Professional Knowledge

The management of science and technology parks (STPs) is a complex task that requires basic expertise in three different areas: business administration, urban planning, and the management of research-politics networks. The presented paper analyzes the interplay of globalization and the professionalization of this particular field of knowledge and skills.

In the last 15 to 20 years, STPs have become both a type of major urban development project and a means to foster joint innovations by research institutions and industry. There are "classic" examples of STPs in the US, such as Silicon Valley or the Research Triangle; a growing number of STPs all over Europe (e.g., Sofia Antipolis in France; the Helsinki Business and Science Park HBSP; Berlin-Adlershof); and new experimental STPs in China or university-based STPs in India (IIT Mumbai and Delhi).

At present, we observe a certain professionalization of STP management: specialized global networks emerge (e.g., IASP, International Association of Science Parks); STP managers exchange their experiences; standards are defined; specialized professional training is organized... It is probably due to this ongoing global professionalization that STPs like Berlin-Adlershof that started as problematic major urban development projects have turned into a network of nuclei of new urban economic growth.

In the presented paper, the professionalization of STP management is analyzed with regard to, for instance, association-building (national, global), academization, and the involved abstract knowledge base (Abbott). In particular, we have to discuss the following issues: (i) STP management as a "professional project" (Larson) and an example of social closure? (ii) state control vs. professional self-control (Johnson, Freidson, Fournier) (iii) professional and public values involved in STP management (iv) the kind of professional expertise required for STP management and its contextuality (v) inter-and intra-professional competition and cooperation.

STP management is a perfect example of new professionalization processes that are triggered by globalization.