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Network-Independent Partner Selection and the Evolution of Innovation Networks

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  • Joel A. C. Baum

    ()
    (Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6, Canada)

  • Robin Cowan

    ()
    (BETA, University of Strasbourg, Strasbourg 67085, France; and UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University, 6211 TC Maastricht, The Netherlands)

  • Nicolas Jonard

    ()
    (University of Luxembourg, L-1246 Luxembourg)

Abstract

Empirical research on strategic alliances has focused on the idea that partners are selected on the basis of social capital considerations. In this paper we emphasize instead the role of complementary knowledge stocks and knowledge dynamics, which have received surprisingly limited attention relative to social capital as forces behind the formation and dynamics of innovation networks. To marshal evidence in this regard, we design a simple model of partner selection in which firms ally for the purpose of learning and innovating, and in doing so create an industry network. We abstract completely from network-based structural and strategic motives for partner selection and focus instead on the idea that firms' knowledge bases must "fit" for joint learning and innovation to be possible, and thus for an alliance to be feasible. The striking result is that, despite containing no social capital considerations, this simple model replicates the firm conduct, network structure, and contingent effects of network position on performance observed and discussed in the empirical literature.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1100.1229
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

Volume (Year): 56 (2010)
Issue (Month): 11 (November)
Pages: 2094-2110

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Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:56:y:2010:i:11:p:2094-2110

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Keywords: innovation; networks; strategic alliances; knowledge;

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References

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  1. Mowery, David C. & Oxley, Joanne E. & Silverman, Brian S., 1998. "Technological overlap and interfirm cooperation: implications for the resource-based view of the firm," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 507-523, September.
  2. Rufin Baghana & Pierre Mohnen, 2009. "Effectiveness of R&D tax incentives in small and large enterprises in Québec," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 91-107, June.
  3. Holme, Petter & Min Park, Sung & Kim, Beom Jun & Edling, Christofer R., 2007. "Korean university life in a network perspective: Dynamics of a large affiliation network," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 373(C), pages 821-830.
  4. Cowan, Robin & Jonard, Nicolas, 2008. "If the Alliance Fits . . . : Innovation and Network Dynamics," MERIT Working Papers 022, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  5. Oxley, Joanne E, 1997. "Appropriability Hazards and Governance in Strategic Alliances: A Transaction Cost Approach," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(2), pages 387-409, October.
  6. Joel A. C. Baum & Andrew V. Shipilov & Tim J. Rowley, 2003. "Where do small worlds come from?," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(4), pages 697-725, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Gao, Bo & Ren, Ruo-en, 2013. "The topology of a causal network for the Chinese financial system," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 392(13), pages 2965-2976.
  2. Herbert Dawid & Tim Hellmann, 2012. "The Evolution of R&D Networks," Working Papers 467, Bielefeld University, Center for Mathematical Economics.
  3. Kalm, Matias, 2012. "The Impact of Networking on Firm Performance - Evidence from Small and Medium-Sized Firms in Emerging Technology Areas," Discussion Papers 1278, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  4. Ivan Savin & Abiodun Egbetokun, 2013. "Emergence of Innovation Networks from R&D Cooperation with Endogenous Absorptive Capacity," Working Papers CEB 13-022, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  5. Lorenzo Cassi & Lorenzo Zirulia, 2012. "Friends and Rivals: Modelling the Social Relations of Inventors," Working Paper Series 39_12, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
  6. Baum, Joel A.C. & Cowan, Robin & Jonard, Nicolas, 2012. "Prescriptions for network strategy: Does evidence of network effects in cross-section support them?," MERIT Working Papers 044, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  7. Francesca Pallotti & Alessandro Lomi & Daniele Mascia, 2013. "From network ties to network structures: Exponential Random Graph Models of interorganizational relations," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 1665-1685, April.
  8. Abiodun Egbetokun & Ivan Savin, 2014. "Absorptive capacity and innovation: when is it better to cooperate?," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 399-420, April.
  9. Robertson, Paul L. & Casali, G.L. & Jacobson, David, 2012. "Managing open incremental process innovation: Absorptive Capacity and distributed learning," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 822-832.

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