Building a bridge: social networks and technological regimes in biotechnology and software
DINÂMIA-CET/IUL Working Paper n.º 2011/17
The paper investigates the influence of technological regimes on the composition and structure of firms’ knowledge networks. We combine insights from two hitherto unconnected bodies of research: one relating technological regimes with the nature of knowledge; and the other relating knowledge and types of innovation with network configuration. Drawing on this framework, we build a number of propositions on the relationship between firms’ networking behaviour and the regime under which they operate, operationalized at both sector and firm-level. These propositions are explored through empirical research comparing firms operating in two distinct knowledge-intensive sectors, namely biotechnology, which is commonly considered more science-based, and software, thought of as mostly technology-based. As expected, we found that distinct technological regimes affect the knowledge search/exchange process, and thus have an impact upon the network building strategies of the firms. The results also reveal that sector-based technological regimes have a greater explanatory capacity than firm-based regimes that cross sectoral boundaries. The use of different approaches and techniques, together with the combination of sector and firm level analyses, provided a tool that enabled a deeper understanding of the variety of networking behaviours among knowledge-intensive firms.
technological regime; social networks; biotechnology; software sector