Ana Cristina Fachinelli 

Graduate Program in Administration, University of Caxias do Sul, Brazil

The improvement of human societies is driven by developing efficient and effective strategies for using knowledge as a factor to create value on a local, regional and global scale. Thus, knowledge is a social construction and an essential factor of development with a unique value structure that characterizes complex social environments.  On the other hand, the concepts and tools alone used to explain, quantify, and administer the basic material processes that sustain an industrial economy are not enough to manage those processes from the symbolic bases that underlie the knowledge society.

Being aware of this implies that new paradigms are needed to construct the foundations for knowledge-based development to map, count, and organize not only the economic impact of these factors of knowledge, but also the universe of social value in a complete and consistent system. The systematization of the dimensions of tangible and non-tangible values in all economic activities of a community like a city or an organization makes it possible to distinguish if a society generates social dynamics which can be translated into sustainable values. This articulation of the knowledge capital with its capacity to grasp social assets and liabilities contributes to the formulation of public policies aimed at developing all human activity systems.

But this is not enough. To know the perception of the citizens about their values is crucial. The way different cultures define what is beautiful or what has value underpins the theory of value that relates to wealth and power. Therefore, the identification of an integrated value perspective of social life from the point of view of citizens is crucial for all knowledge-based development. In fact, the society begins in the unity of man. Thus, transformations that become so necessary will begin within each individual clinging to the cause of justice.  There is no renewed society without renewed men and women committed to principles of equity and common good. Because of this, it is fundamental to know the perspective of citizens about social life and their relations to specific cultural settings. It is in this dimension that we can better understand issues such as social cohesion, sense of belonging, citizen participation that mobilize society and cause profound and often unexpected changes.