Network-Independent Partner Selection and the Evolution of Innovation Networks

Management Science, Forthcoming

31 Pages Posted: 4 May 2009 Last revised: 23 Jun 2010

See all articles by Joel A. C. Baum

Joel A. C. Baum

University of Toronto - Joseph L. Rotman School of Management

Robin Cowan

Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT)

Nicolas Jonard

University of Angers - Centre de Recherche en Epistémologie Appliquée (CREA)

Date Written: April 28, 2009

Abstract

Empirical research on strategic alliances has focused on the idea that alliance partners are selected on the basis of social capital considerations. In this paper we emphasize instead the role of complementary knowledge stocks (broadly defined) in partner selection, arguing not only that knowledge complementarity should not be overlooked, but that it may be the true causal force behind alliance formation. To marshal evidence on this point, we design a simple model of partner selection in which firms ally for the purpose of learning and innovating, and in doing so create an industry network. We abstract completely from network-based structural and strategic motives for partner selection and focus instead on the idea that firms' knowledge bases must "fit" in order for joint leaning and innovation to be possible, and thus for an alliance to be feasible. The striking result is that while containing no social capital considerations, this simple model replicates the firm conduct, network structure, and contingent effects of network position on performance observed and discussed in the empirical literature.

Keywords: Networks, innovation, partner selection

Suggested Citation

Baum, Joel A.C. and Cowan, Robin and Jonard, Nicolas, Network-Independent Partner Selection and the Evolution of Innovation Networks (April 28, 2009). Management Science, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1396324

Joel A.C. Baum (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Joseph L. Rotman School of Management ( email )

University of Toronto
105 St. George Street
Toronto, ON, M5S 3E6
Canada
416-978-4914 (Phone)
416-978-4629 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.rotman.utoronto.ca/~baum

Robin Cowan

Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT) ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200 MD
Netherlands

Nicolas Jonard

University of Angers - Centre de Recherche en Epistémologie Appliquée (CREA) ( email )

Ecole Polytechnique
1, rue Descartes
75005 Paris
France

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