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Intellectual capital or signal? The effects of scientists on alliance formation in knowledge-intensive industries

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  • Luo, Xiaowei Rose
  • Koput, Kenneth W.
  • Powell, Walter W.

Abstract

Hiring employees with advanced education, training, and experience has been a prevalent human resource practice in dynamic science-based industries, and a growing body of literature has demonstrated the importance of scientists in such fields. Little research has attempted to distinguish the functional from the symbolic roles of scientists, however. We develop an integrative theoretical framework to separate the productive and legitimating effects of scientists on strategic alliance formation of firms. Results from a longitudinal analysis of more than 300 U.S. biotechnology firms between 1988 and 1999 suggest a positive relationship between ratio of scientists and R&D alliance partners as well as a positive relationship with finance alliance partners. Scientists influence partner attraction more strongly for firms that are less-well-connected, and they become less prominent in fostering finance ties as the industry practice of partnership becomes more institutionalized. We conclude that scientists serve more than just a research function in knowledge-intensive industries. Implications for building interorganizational networks and managing human resources in such industries are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Luo, Xiaowei Rose & Koput, Kenneth W. & Powell, Walter W., 2009. "Intellectual capital or signal? The effects of scientists on alliance formation in knowledge-intensive industries," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 1313-1325, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:38:y:2009:i:8:p:1313-1325
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    Cited by:

    1. Larry Howard & Thomas Tang & M. Jill Austin, 2015. "Teaching Critical Thinking Skills: Ability, Motivation, Intervention, and the Pygmalion Effect," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 133-147, April.
    2. Herrera, Liliana & Nieto, Mariano, 2016. "PhD careers in Spanish industry: Job determinants in manufacturing versus non-manufacturing firms," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 113(PB), pages 341-351.
    3. Huang, Can & Arundel, Anthony & Hollanders, Hugo, 2010. "How Firms Innovate: R&D, Non-R&D, and Technology Adoption," Working Papers 9854, University of Tasmania, Tasmanian School of Business and Economics, revised 19 Nov 2012.
    4. Jong, Simcha & Slavova, Kremena, 2014. "When publications lead to products: The open science conundrum in new product development," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 645-654.
    5. Barge-Gil, Andres & D'Este, Pablo & Herrera, Liliana, 2018. "Corporate scientists as the triggers of transitions towards firms' exploration research strategies," MPRA Paper 85415, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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