Campus: CSU Long Beach -- March 23, 2005
Cal State Long Beach Geography Professor Named Finalist for
Nystrom Award by Association of American Geographers
Christine L. Jocoy, an assistant professor of geography at California State
University, Long Beach, has been selected as a finalist for the J. Warren Nystrom
Award by the Association of American Geographers (AAG) in recognition of her
research on the promotion of corporate learning and innovation through spatial
Jocoy has been invited to present a paper based on her 2004 doctoral dissertation
from the Pennsylvania State University at the special AAG Nystrom session to be
held April 5-9 in Denver, Colo., which will select from one to four award winners.
She also has been invited to submit her study for the AAG's journal, The
"The Social and Spatial Contexts of Corporate Learning: Practices for Balancing
Diverse and Shared Knowledges" traces the interactions, practices and decision-making
involved in the daily operations of a company as perceived by its employees. The
case study investigates networks of individual learning practices and the roles
played by firms and regions in shaping those practices within an innovative
"Being a Nystrom finalist and session presenter is an honor," said Jocoy, who
worked for several years as a cartographer for the National Geographic Society.
She came to CSULB after earning her M.S. and Ph.D. from Penn State. She earned
her B.A. from New York's Vassar College.
"There are several theories about how various industries cluster in certain areas,
such as high technology in Silicon Valley or the aerospace industry in Long Beach,"
she said. "The co-location of firms in the same industry or closely related
industries helps facilitate interaction that contributes to learning and innovation.
Essentially, it allows people to develop common conceptual frameworks about what
other people know so that they can communicate more easily. This paper looks at
the kinds of geographic or spatial relationships that promote corporate learning
and the relationships that help businesses to come up with innovations."
Her research suggests that there's more to creativity than working in the same
place. "I looked at the linkages a company has to other places and examined the
idea that pipelines of information feed core groups of people working together,"
she said. "It's all about balancing diverse and shared knowledges."
In "Spatial Contexts," she argues that while learning happens during face-to-face
interaction between individuals, it is generated from many dispersed sources and
multiple contexts. "Knowledge production is a continuously negotiated balancing
act between cohesive and disparate contexts," she wrote. "I illustrate this with
examples from an innovative firm that attempts to balance the interaction of both
diverse and shared knowledges to produce new knowledge."
Sharing ideas is essential to success, Jocoy believes, but it is not just a matter
of sharing information: it is the ability to facilitate and benefit from that
sharing. "There has to be an environment in which members feel free to work
together," she said. "Learning depends on making people feel comfortable with
crossing boundaries. There are barriers not only between places but between
departments in a single corporation or even between floors in a corporate
headquarters. The key is overcoming them."
Media Contacts: Rick Gloady, 562/985-5454 or Shayne Schroeder,