Topologies of innovation networks in knowledge-intensive sectors

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Subtitle: Sectoral differences in the access to knowledge and complementary assets through formal and informal ties
Author list: Sousa, C., Salavisa, I., & Fontes, M.
Publisher: Elsevier
Publication year: 2012
Volume number: 32
Issue number: 6
Start page: 380
End page: 399
Number of pages: 20
ISSN: 0166-4972
Languages: English-Great Britain (EN-GB)


This paper contributes to a better understanding of the sources of
networking variety in knowledge-intensive sectors, focusing on molecular
biotechnology and software for telecommunications. These sectors differ
in the nature of the knowledge exploited and in the organisation of the
innovation processes. Our argument is that the sectoral differences
affect the type, the sources and the modes of access to resources
necessary for innovation and therefore firms' networking behaviour. The
empirical research was based on extensive interviews with the
entrepreneurs of 46 young firms of the two sectors in Portugal,
complemented with documentary data. Networks were reconstructed and
social network analysis was applied, distinguishing between the formal
and informal relationships established to access both knowledge and
complementary assets. The results show differences in the topology of
networks within and across sectors, providing support to our argument.
The differences become particularly evident regarding: (i) the formal
access to complementary assets, reflecting distinct dynamics of the
environment where firms pursue their activities; (ii) the informal
access to knowledge, associated with differences in knowledge bases. The
comparative approach permitted to obtain a more comprehensive picture
of firms' networking activities and a deeper understanding of the
mechanisms behind the distinct sectoral network topologies. © 2012
Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Biotechnology, Formal network, Informal network, Innovation network, Knowledge-intensive sector, Molecular biotechnology, Social network, Social Network Analysis, Software


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Last updated on 2019-13-08 at 00:45