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Network Capital, Social Capital and Knowledge Flow: How the Nature of Inter-organizational Networks Impacts on Innovation

Author

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  • Robert Huggins
  • Andrew Johnston
  • Piers Thompson

Abstract

This paper focuses on the role of inter-organizational networks as facilitators of knowledge flow and innovation. It introduces the concepts of network capital and network space to complement existing notions of social capital and geographic space as explanatory factors underpinning the impact of networks. Empirically, the paper analyses the inter-organizational networks of firms across three different regional settings. As well as finding significant differences across regions, the analysis also finds cross-regional commonalities in terms of the association between the innovation prowess of firms and the nature of their networks. In particular, it is found that the innovation performance of firms is significantly related to network capital investment in dynamically configured inter-organizational knowledge alliances. It is concluded that such findings may provide clues in terms of policy making in areas such as cluster and innovation system development, especially in supporting and orchestrating networks which have a clear strategic and calculative rationale.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Huggins & Andrew Johnston & Piers Thompson, 2012. "Network Capital, Social Capital and Knowledge Flow: How the Nature of Inter-organizational Networks Impacts on Innovation," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(3), pages 203-232, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:indinn:v:19:y:2012:i:3:p:203-232
    DOI: 10.1080/13662716.2012.669615
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Roel Rutten & Frans Boekema, 2007. "The Learning Region: Foundations, State of the Art, Future," Chapters,in: The Learning Region, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ron Boschma, 2015. "Towards an Evolutionary Perspective on Regional Resilience," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(5), pages 733-751, May.
    2. Fikri Zul Fahmi, 2016. "Business networks, social capital and the productivity of creative industries in Indonesia," ERSA conference papers ersa16p351, European Regional Science Association.
    3. Rune Dahl Fitjar & Franz Huber & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 2016. "Not too close, not too far: testing the Goldilocks principle of ‘optimal’ distance in innovation networks," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(6), pages 465-487, August.
    4. Janna Alvedalen & Ron Boschma, 2017. "A critical review of entrepreneurial ecosystems research: towards a future research agenda," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(6), pages 887-903, June.
    5. Feser, Daniel & Proeger, Till, 2015. "Asymmetric information as a barrier to knowledge spillovers in expert markets," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 259, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    6. repec:pid:journl:v:55:y:2016:i:4:p:331-348 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Daniel Feser & Till Proeger, 2017. "Asymmetric information as a barrier to knowledge spillovers in expert markets," International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 211-232, March.
    8. Eriksson, Tor & Qin, Zhihua & Wang, Wenjing, 2014. "Firm-level innovation activity, employee turnover and HRM practices — Evidence from Chinese firms," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 583-597.
    9. Nicola Cortinovis & Frank van Oort, 2017. "Between spilling over and boiling down: network-mediated spillovers, absorptive capacity and productivity in European regions," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-118/VI, Tinbergen Institute.
    10. Oparaocha, Gospel Onyema, 2015. "SMEs and international entrepreneurship: An institutional network perspective," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 861-873.
    11. Hervas Oliver,Jose Luis & Gonzalez,Gregorio & Caja,Pedro, 2014. "Clusters and industrial districts: where is the literature going? Identifying emerging sub-fields of research," INGENIO (CSIC-UPV) Working Paper Series 201409, INGENIO (CSIC-UPV).
    12. Robert Huggins & Piers Thompson, 2015. "Entrepreneurship, innovation and regional growth: a network theory," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 103-128, June.
    13. Tomlinson, Philip R. & Fai, Felicia M., 2013. "The nature of SME co-operation and innovation: A multi-scalar and multi-dimensional analysis," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 141(1), pages 316-326.
    14. Iréne Bernhard, 2016. "Innovation focusing on regional development in a European context - towards a new research agenda," International Journal of Innovation and Regional Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 7(1), pages 1-19.

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