Social Networks, Learning, and Flexibility: Sourcing Scientific Knowledge in New Biotechnology Firms
44 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2000 Last revised: 25 Nov 2014
Date Written: October 1995
We examine how two highly successful new biotechnology firms (NBFs) source their most critical input -- scientific knowledge. We find that scientists at the two NBFs enter into large numbers of collaborative research efforts with scientists at other organizations, especially universities. Formal market contracts are rarely used to govern these exchanges of scientific knowledge. Our findings suggest that the use of boundary-spanning social networks by the two NBFs increases both their learning and their flexibility in ways that would not be possible within a self-contained hierarchical organization.
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