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Prescriptions for network strategy: Does evidence of network effects in cross-section support them?

Author

Listed:
  • Baum, Joel A.C.

    () (University of Toronto)

  • Cowan, Robin

    () (UNU-MERIT/MGSoG, Maastricht University, and BETA, Universite de Strassbourg)

  • Jonard, Nicolas

    () (University of Luxembourg)

Abstract

Although intuitively appealing (and common), drawing network strategy implications from empirical evidence of network performance effects in pooled cross-section is not necessarily warranted. This is because network positions can influence both the mean and variance of firm performance. Strategic prescriptions are warranted if empirically observed network effects reflect increases in mean firm performance. If network effects reflect increases in firm performance variance, however, such prescriptions are warranted only if the increase in the odds of achieving high performance is sufficient to compensate for the concomitant increase in the odds of realizing poor performance. Our simulation study, designed to examine network performance effects in both pooled cross-section and within-firm over time across a wide range of conditions, counsels caution in drawing implications for network strategies. We discuss the implications of our findings for research on network effects, and more broadly for drawing strategic inferences from studies of firm performance in pooled cross-section.

Suggested Citation

  • 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).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2012044
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    File URL: https://www.merit.unu.edu/publications/wppdf/2012/wp2012-044.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Joel A. C. Baum & Robin Cowan & Nicolas Jonard, 2010. "Network-Independent Partner Selection and the Evolution of Innovation Networks," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(11), pages 2094-2110, November.
    2. Gilsing, Victor & Nooteboom, Bart & Vanhaverbeke, Wim & Duysters, Geert & van den Oord, Ad, 2008. "Network embeddedness and the exploration of novel technologies: Technological distance, betweenness centrality and density," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 1717-1731, December.
    3. Lori Rosenkopf & Paul Almeida, 2003. "Overcoming Local Search Through Alliances and Mobility," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(6), pages 751-766, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    network formation; strategic alliances; innovation; network strategy; interfirm networks;

    JEL classification:

    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General
    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General

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