The Role of Alliance Network Redundancy in the Creation of Core and Non-Core Technologies
30 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2009
This paper studies the effect of a focal firm, and its partners' local alliance actions, on the creation of technological innovations by the former. More specifically, we study how two types of redundancy in a focal firm's ego network affect its ability to create new technologies in its technology core areas (exploitation) and/or non-core areas (exploration). We analyse this empirically in three different industry settings: chemicals, motor vehicles, and pharmaceuticals. One of our key findings is that individual firms can indeed boost both types of innovative output by shaping the degree of redundancy in their local alliance network, but that the way in which this should be done differs between the creation of core and non-core technologies. Next, we find that it is very useful to unpack the rather abstract notion of redundancy into more specific types of redundancy in ego networks. Overall, these findings reflect an action-oriented view on the role of individual firms in collaborative networks, which may complement the dominant view in the alliance literature emphasizing the role of the overall network structure and firms' network position within it.
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